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A TREATISE 



ESCULENT FUNGUSES 



ENGLAND, 



CONTAINING 



AN ACCOUNT OP THEIR CLASSICAL HISTORY, USES, CHARACTERS, DEVELOPMENT, 
STRUCTURE, NUTRITIOUS PROPERTIES, MODES OP COOKING Alj© 
PRESERVING, &c., i^V / 



CHARLES DAVID BADHAM, M.D. 




"'"W 







TToXXa fjL€if ^cffka fUfuyfUva TroKKh d€ Xvy/)A.— JJ(W». 



LONDON: 
REEVE, BEOTHEBS, KING WILLIAM STREET, STRAND. 



1847. 



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prihtvrb awd pobusbrbs ov tcniinnc wobks, 

KXMO WILLIAM tTRSBT, BTBAKD. 



Farlow Reference Library 

OCT 1 6 1979 






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THE RIGHT REVEREND 



LORD BISHOP OF NORWICH. 



Mt Lord, 

I had two reasons for desiring that this humble performance 
should appear under the sanction of your Lordship's name. Nothing 
could be more favourable to a Treatise on any department of Natural 
History, than the approval of one who has been so eminently successful 
in his cultivation of the same field. 

But it is with much greater confidence that I dedicate a work, whose 
chief object it is to fiimish the labouring classes with wholesome 
nourishment and profitable occupation, to a high Functionary of that 
Kingdom, which is distinguished from all others by recognising the 
claims, and furthering the interests of the poor. 

I have the honour to be, My Lord, 

With great respect, your Lordship's 

Obliged and humble Servant, 

C. D. Badham. 



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CONTENTS. 



PMC. 

BTYM0L0GIE9 1 

THE RANGE OF FUNGUS GROWTH 6 

OF THE GENERAL FORMS, COLOURS AND TEXTURE 9 

ODOURS AND TASTES 11 

EXPANSIYE POWER OP GROWTH 12 

REPRODUCTITE POWER 14 

MOTION 14 

PHOSPHORESCENCE 15 

DIMENSIONS 16 

CHEMICAL COMPOSITION 17 

USES 18 

MEDICAL USES 20 

FUNGUSES CONSIDERED AS AN ARTICLE OF DIET 24 

MODES OF DISTINGUISHING 34 

CONDITIONS NECESSARY TO THEIR PRODUCTION 41 

FAIRY RINGS 45 

ON THE GROWTH OF FUNGUSES 46 

ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE SPORES OR qUoH SEEDS * 50 

OF THE ANULUS, THE VELUM, AND THE VOLVA 67 

OF THE STALK, AND OF THE PILEUS 68 

OF THE GILLS, TUBES, PLAITS, AND SPINES 69 

METHODICAL DISTRIBUTION OF BRITISH ESCULENT FUNGUSES ... 61 

DESCRIPTION OF SPECIES 

Agaricus acris minor 1 04 

Agaricw alutaceus 102 

Agaricui (Uramentariu% 97 

Agaricm campesiris 81 

Agaricus castaneua 129 

Agaricus caudieinus • 126 

Agaricus comatus 95 

Agaricus deliciosus 88 

Agaricus emeiicus 103 

* The word Seed here, or wherever else introduced into the present work, is to be 
understood in its popular acceptation ; correctly speaking, spores differ from seeds in the 
absence of an apparent embryo ; but in a more catholic sense, spores are seeds, since both 
are germinating granules, producing each afler their kind. 



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VI. CONTENTS. 

DESCRIPTION OF SPECIES 

Agaricua exquisiius 87 

Agaricua fkiipes 127 

Agaricua heierophyllua . . * 98 

Agaricua meUeua 125 

Agaricua nehularia 94 

Agaricua orcella 112 

Agaricua Oreadea 92 

Agaricua oatreatua 105 

Agaricua peraonatua 91 

Agaricua jpiperatua 180 

Agaricua procerua 76 

Agaricua prunulua 73 

Agaricua ruber 100 

Agaricua rubeacena 107 

Agaricua aanguineua 104 

Agaricua vaginatua 128 

Agaricua tnolaceua 129 

Agaricua vireacena 101 

Agaricua virgineua 131 

Agaricua ulmariua 124 

Amanita Caaarea 118 

Boletua eduUa 78 

Boletua luridua 90 

Boletua acaber 89 

Cantharellua cibariua 95 

Clavaria coralloidea 121 

Fiatulina hepatica Ill 

HelveUa criapa 114 

Helvetia lacunoaa 115 

Hydnum repandum 109 

Zycoperdon boviata 124 

Lgcoperdon pUtmbeum 123 

Morckella eaculenta ♦ 107 

MorcheUa aemilibera 108 

Penza acetabulum , . . . . 116 

Folgporua corylinua 120 

Polgporua frondoaua , 119 

Polyporua tuberaater 115 

Ferpa digital\formia 115 

REFERENCE TO PLATES OP DISSECTIONS 132 

CONCLUSION , 133 



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INTRODUCTORY NOTICE. 



No country is perhaps richer in Esculent Funguses than our own ; 
we have upwards of thirty species abounding in our woods. No 
markets might therefore be better supplied than the English, and yet 
England is the only country in Europe where this important and 
savoury food is, from ignorance or prejudice, left to perish ungathered. 

In France, Germany and Italy, Funguses not only constitute for weeks 
together the sole diet of thousands, but the residue either fresh, dried, 
or variously preserved, in ail, vinegar, or brine, is sold by the poor, and 
forms a valuable source of income to many who have no other produce 
to bring into the market. Well then may we style them with Mons. 
Roques, ''the manna of the poor'' \ To call attention to an article of 
commerce elsewhere so lucrative, with us so wholly neglected, is the 
object of the present work, to which the best possible introduction will 
be a brief reference to the state of the Fungus market abroad. 



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Vlii. INTEODUCTOEY NOTICE. 

The following brief summary was drawn up by Professor Sanguinetti, 
the Official Inspector (' Ispettore dei Funghi ') at Rome ; let it speak for 
itself: — "For forty days during the autunm, and for about half that 
period every spring, large quantities of Eunguses, picked in the inmie- 
diate vicinity of Rome, from Frascati, Rocca di Papa, Albano, beyond 
Monte Mario towards Ostia and the neighbourhood of the sites of Veii 
and Gabii, are brought in at the different gates. In the year 1837 the 
Government instituted the so-called Congregazione Speciale di Sanita, 
which among other duties was more particularly required to take into 
serious consideration the commerce of Funguses, from the unrestricted 
sale of which during some years past, cases of poisoning had not unfre- 
quently occurred. The following decisions were arrived at by this body. 

Ist. — ^That for the future an * Inspector of Funguses ', versed in botany, should be 
appointed to attend the market in place of the peasant, whose supposed practical know- 
ledge had hitherto been held as sa£Bicient guarantee for the public safety. 

2nd. — ^That all the Funguses brought into Borne by the different gates should be regis- 
tered, under the surveillance of the principal Officer, in whose presence also the baskets 
were to be sealed up, and the whole for that day's consumption sent under escort to a 
central dep6t. 

3rd. — That a certain spot should be fixed upon for the Fungus market, and that nobody 
under penalty of fine and imprisonment should hawk them about the streets. 

4th. — ^That at seven o'clock, a.m., precisely, the Inspector should pay his daily visit, and 
examine the whole, the contents of the baskets being previously emptied on the ground by 
the proprietors, who were then to receive, if the Funguses were approved of, a printed 
permission of sale from the police, and to pay for it an impost of one baioccho (a half- 
penny) on every ten pounds. 

6th. — That quantities imder ten pounds should not be taxed. 

6th. — ^That the stale Funguses of the preceding day, as well as those that were mouldy, 
bruised, filled with maggots, or dangerous (muffin guasti, vermtnosiy velenosi), together with 
any specimen of the common mushroom (Jg, campestris) detected in any of the baskets, 
should be sent under escort and thrown into the Tiber. 



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INTRODUCTORY NOTICE. IX. 

7th. — That the Inspector should be empowered to fine or imprison all those refractory 
to the above regulations ; and, finally, that he should furnish a weekly report to the 
Tribunal of Provisions (77 Tribunale deUe Orasde) of the proceeds of the sale. 



As all fresh Funguses for sale in quantities ewceeding ten pounds are 

weighed, in order to be taxed, we are enabled to arrive at an exact 

estimate of the number of poimds thus disposed of. The return of 
tawed Mushrooms in the city of Rome during the last ten years, gives a 
yearly average of between siwty and eighty thousand pounds weight ; and 

if we double this amount, as we may safely do, in order to include such 
smaller untaxed supplies as are disposed of in bribes, fees and presents, 
and reckon the whole at the rate of six baiocchi, or three pence per lb. 
(a fair average), this will make the conunercial value of &esh Funguses 
very apparent, showing it here to be little less than 2,000/. a year. 

But the fresh Funguses form only a small part of the whole con- 
sumption, to which must be added the dried, the pickled, and the 
preserved; which sell at a much higher price than the first.* Sup- 
posing, however, that with these additions the supply of all kinds only 
reached a sum the double of that given above, even this would furnish 
us with an annual average of nearly /oe^r thousand pounds sterling; and 
this in a single city, and that, too, by no means the most populous 
one in Italy!! What then must be the net receipts of all the market- 
places of all the Italian States ? For as in these the proportion of the 
price of Esculent Funguses to butchers' meat, is as two to three, it is 
plain, that prejudice has deprived the poor of this country, not only of 
many thousand pounds of the former, but also of as much of the latter, 

* At from twenty to thirty baiocchi, i. e., at about Is, Sd, a pound. 

t The population of Rome is only 154,000; that of Naples 360,000; and that of 
Venice 180,000. 



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X. INTRODUCTORY NOTICE. 

as might have been purchased by exchange, and of the countless sums 
which might have been earned in gathering them.* 



* The Chinese present a striking contrast with ourselves in the care which they bestow 
on their esculent vegetation. " Some days since, M. Stanislaus Julien presented to the 
Academy of Sciences, at Paris, a Chinese work, which merits a word or two of notice in 
the present circumstances of Agricultural Europe. It is a treatise, in six volumes, with 
plates, entitled the ' Anti-Famine Herbal '; and contains the descriptions and represen- 
tations of four hundred and fourteen di#^erent plants, whose leaves, rinds, stalks or roots, 
are fitted to furnish food for the people, when drought, ravages of locusts, or the overflow 
of the great -rivers have occasioned a failure of rice and grain. Of this book the Chinese 
Government annually prints thousands, — and distributes them gratuitously in those dis- 
tricts which are most exposed to natural calamities. Such an instance of provident solici- 
tude on the part of the Chinese Government for the suffering classes may be suggestive 
here at home. A more general knowledge of the properties and capabilities of esculent 
plants would be an important branch of popular education." — AtAenatm^ Nov, 16, 1846. 



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ON THE 



ESCULENT MUSHROOMS 



OF ENGLAND. 



" quos ipsa volentia nira 
Sponte tulere sua carpsit. " Virg, 

He culls from woods, and heights, and fields, 
Those untaxed boons which nature yields. 

Etymologies, 

By the word Mvteijf, rjros, or ov, o, whereof the usually received root 
IIVK09 {mucus), is probably factitious, the Greeks used familiarly to desig- 
nate certain, but indefinite species of funguses, which they were in the 
habit of employing at table. This term, in its origin at once trivial and 
restricted to at most a few varieties, has become in our days classical 
and generic ; Mycology, its direct derivative, including, in the language 
of modem botany, several great sections of plants, (many amongst the 
number of microscopic minuteness,) which have apparently as little to 
do with the original import of /iv/w;^ as smut, bunt, mould, or dry-rot, have 
to do with our table mushrooms. A like indefiniteness formerly charac- 
terized the Latin word Jiin^, though it be now used in as catholic a 
sense as that of fjivfcr)9 ; this, in the classic times of Rome, seems to 
have been confined (without any precise limitation, however,) to certain 

B 



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2 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OF ENGLAND. 

sorts which might be eaten, and to others, which it was not safe to 
eat. The 

" fungos coUigit albos,'' * 
which occurs in Ovid's ' Fasti,' alludes to the former ; the 

'' sunt tibi boleti, fongos ego sumo suillos/' 
of Martial, points to an inferior kind, but still esculent ; whilst the word 
not unfrequently designated, if not actual toadstools, at least very equi- 
vocal mushrooms ; of which character were those " andpitea fungi " pre- 
sented by Veiento to his poor cUents. Some melancholy etymologists, 
upon whom good mushrooms are really thrown away, would beget 
fungus out of funuB, but Vossf judiciously rejects so harsh and forced a 
derivation, mentioning together with it others that are still more so. 
The Dutch, from supposing, no doubt, that the devil eats the best of 
everything, compliment funguses with the title 'DuvyeVa hroot!\ 

The word Boletm, which now stands for a large Genus of the 
Section Fileati, was used in ancient Rome to designate that particular 
mushroom, which had the honour, under Agrippina's orders, and 
Locusta's cookery, of poisoning Claudius ; in memory of which event 
it is now called Amanita Ccesarea, the Caesar's mushroom. It occurs 
frequently, both in the poets, and prose writers of those days ; and was 
in high esteem, as we collect from Phny, who, though no mushroom 
fancier himself, calls this " boletus optimi cibi ". Nero, in playful allusion 
to his imcle's death, of which it was the occasion, designates it the 
" food of gods," Bp&fia Beav ; and Martial celebrates it in many a 
convivial epigram ; in one, for instance, where he asks his hard-hearted 
patron, "what possible pleasure it can be for his guests to sit at his 

* There are three kinds of esculent funguses in Italy to which the epithet albus might 
apply ; viz., the Amanita alba, of Persoon, the Zycoperdon Bovista, Linn., (or common 
puff-ball), and Jff. campestris, Linn., (our common Mushroom). The first kind grows in 
woods, and the second in dry uncultivated spots, whereas Ovid mentions these in con- 
junction with the mallow {malva) which grows in moist meadow-land ; it is probable, 
therefore, that he here alludes to the Pratajolo, or meadow mushroom, or to that variety 
of it caUed from its whiteness " boute de neige^ 

t Etymol. ad locum. J J. C. MuUer. 



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ETYMOLOGIES. 3 

table, and see him devour boletuses*'; in another, "gold and silver 
and dresses may be trusted to a messenger, but not a boletus (subaudi), 
because he will eat it on the way." This is the only ancient mushroom, 
which we at once recognize by the description of it ; '* it originates," 
says Pliny, " in a volva, or purse, in which it lies at first, concealed as 
in an egg ; breaking through this, it rises upwards, on its stalk ; the 
colour of its cap is red ; it takes a week to pass through the various 
stages of its growth, and declension." The Suillus, probably the same 
as the modern jP(?r«?;?(? (a word of analogous import), which was, and is, 
eaten by men as well as pigs, and not always by these,* was, according 
to Pliny, the fungus which most readily lent itself to poisoning, by 
mistake ; a remark so far consonant to modem experience, that it is 
liable, without some attention, to be confounded with the Boletus luridm, 
B, cyaneacens, and others, which in their general shape and external 
hue resemble it, though it is not by any means certain that any of these 
species, with which it may be confounded, are, themselves, poisonous.f 
The word tuber, though it occasionally (as in Juvenal) meant the truffle, 
seems to have been used with considerable latitude. Thus the tuber, 
said to spring up after those optatos imbres, those " long-wished-for 
showers of spring," were, probably, not truffles, but puff-balls, which, at 
the season of warm rains grow with incredible rapidity, forming an 
esteemed article of luxury, not only in Italy, but also in India ; whereas 
the truffle never makes its appearance in the markets at such times, 
nor comes up so immediately after rain. Tuber, like oiu* ancient 
'^fuasebally' seems a common appellation, both for truffles and puff-balls. 
What the ancients understood by Hydnum is as little precise or discrimi- 
nate as the last word ; for Theophrastus declares it to have a light 
bark, T^uxpijoiov kvcu, in which case it is a puff-ball, while the plant 

* Well-fed domestic pigs, on the authority of a friend, refuse it; but possibly, in 
the absence of full supplies of com, they might be less dainty. 

t Vittadini assures us that the " slips of dried boletus sold on strings, are as frequently 
from these kinds, as from the Boletus edulis itself; notwithstanding which, no accident was 
ever known to happen from the indiscriminate use of either'*. 

b2 



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4 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OP ENGLAND. 

called vSvo(l>iXop, which is said to indicate the whereabouts of hydna 
in its neighbourhood, can only refer to the truflBe. The truffle, however, 
which is now so much prized throughout Europe, seems not to have 
been known to the ancients, at least, it is not described by them.* 
That which the Greeks called Misy, and the Romans the Lybian truffle,! 
was white and of very delicious flavour, whilst by hydnum (when this 
word really meant truffle) they usually designated a particular kind 
bearing a smooth red rind, and abounding in certain districts of Italy ; 
but having no chance against the black, nodulated tuber tuberuniy the 
truffle jpar excellence^ found in such abundance in the vicinities of Rome, 
Florence, Sienna, &c., and, above all, amongst the Nurcian hills of 
Umbria, over against Spoleto, whence it is largely exported throughout 
and beyond Italy. Under the name Feziza, the ancients appear at times 
to describe, unconsciously, a Scleroderma or species of puff-ball, after it 
has evacuated its seed, when it presents a flattened surface, and so far 
looks like a JPeziza, with which, in fact, it has no connection. By 
Amanita, Galen intended some kind of esculent fungus, but we know 
not which ; this word has now come to have a more extensive import, 
and to designate, besides one or two species that are good, many of 
the most dangerous character. Whatever the ancient Amanita may 
have been, it was formerly in high repute ; Galen declares that, next to 
the Boletus, it is affKajSeaarov, to eat ; in which good report of it, he is 
abundantly borne out by the concurrent testimony of Nicander. What 
Dioscorides meant by Ayapt/cov is another uncertainty, to resolve which 
we have not sufflcient data ; one thing seems plain, that it could not have 
been our officinal Agaric, for that grows upon the larch, whereas, his 

* Dioscorides, who lived in the time of Nero, says that pigs dig up " truffles " in 
Spring. Matthiolus, in his commentaries, speaks of an inferior smooth-barked red truffle 
known to the ancients, to which the above remark of Dioscorides perhaps applies ; certainly 
it does not apply to the black truffle, which begins to come into the Eoman market in 
November, .and is over long before the spring. 

t The Thradans are said to have intended this same Misy under the new epithet of 
Ktpauviop, as though it were produced by thunder, unless, indeed, as in Theof. Lib. I. cap. ix., 
we should read Kpaviovy in which case they meant the lAfcoperdon giganteum, a fungus 
frequently as big as, and in the form of, the human head : whence its name of eramum. 



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ETYMOLOGIES. 5 

Agaricon grew upon the cedar, Julius Scaliger amuses himself at the 
expense of Athenaeus for saying that Agaricu% is so called, from the 
country of Agaria, whence he would make out that it origmally came ; 
whereas there never was such a country, his Agaria, being like our 
Poiatia, only another synonyme for Fancy's fairy land.* 

The words Champignon and Mushroom have both a French origin, 
though hke the corresponding derivatives from the Greek and Latin, 
they too have come to signifiy different things from what they originally 
designated ; Champignon^ for example, of which champ would seem to 
be the root, is generic in France. The " Traites sur lea Champignons " 
of Bulliard, Persoon, Paulet, Cordier, and Roques, are treatises of 
funguses in genere ; whilst in England we restrict the word Champignon, 
to one small Agaric, which, as it grows in the so-called " Fairy-rings," is 
hence named Jg. oreades. Again, there can be no doubt that our 
word Mushroom (which, as contra-distinguished from toad-stool, is so far 
generic), comes from the French Mouceron (originally spelled Mousserori), 
and belongs of right to that most dainty of funguses, the Ag, Prunulus, 
which grows amidst tender herbage, and moss (whence its name) ; and 
which is justly considered over almost the whole continent of Europe, as 
the ne plus ultra of cvim^xj friandise. It abounds in various parts of 
England, being everywhere trodden under foot, or reaped down, or dug 
up as a nuisance, while the rings which it so sedulously forms, are as 
sedulously destroyed. The very odour which it exhales under these 
injuries, which the French call " un parfum exquis aromatise,' f and 
the Italians " un odore gratissimo'' } is in England occasionally cited to its 
disadvantage in confirmation of its supposed noxious qualities. Thus, 
while we use the word Mushroom, which is the proper appellation of this 

* Whoever has time to waste on the miprofitable speculations of the ancients concerning 
the parentage of fiingnses, and would like so to waste it, may consult Pliny, Lib. 16. cap. 8. 
Lib. 22. cap. 23. Hist. Nat. Dioscorides, Lib. 3. cap. 78. Athenaeus, Lib. 2. in the Deiptno- 
sophisti; and after them, Galen, Clusius, Portae (Villae Lib. 10.), Imperato (Hist. Nat,), 
&c. The first really philosophical treatise which ascribes their origin, like that of other 
plants, to seeds, was published by Micheli, at Florence, in 1720. 

t Boques. J Vitt. 



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6 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OF ENGLAND. 

species, for another, (very good no doubt, but wholly unlike it, in its 
botanical characters, flavour, and appearance,) this neglected, and igno- 
rantly neglected, species, finds itself deprived of its rightful name, and 
proscribed as a Toadstool, The origin of this last word, toadstool^ which 
makes them seats or thrones for toads, does not quite satisfy me, I 
confess, though there be doughty authorities for it in Johnson's Dic- 
tionary, and in Spencer's ' Faery Queen * ! 

"The grisly todestool grown there mought I see. 
And loathed paddocks lording on the same'', 

and, though an anonymous Italian authority declares that in Germany, 
they have actually been seen sitting on their stools;* still even in 
Germany, it must be admitted, that they do not use them as frequently 
as we might expect, had they been created for this end. In that most 
grisly and ghastly wax-work exhibition at Florence, representing a 
charnel-house filled with the recent victims to a raging plague, in every 
stage of decomposition, the toad and his stool are not forgotten ; but 
the artist, who had here to deal with matter, and to consult what it 
would bear, has not put his toads upon these brittle stools, lest giving 
way, both should come to the ground, he has been content to convert 
them into toad-umbrellas, and to spread them as an awning over their 
heads.f 

The range of Fungus growths. 

The family of funguses in the comprehensive sense in which we now 
employ the term, is immense. Merely catalogued and described, there 
are sufficient to fill an octavo volume of nearly 400 pages of close print, 
of British species alone; altogether, there cannot be less than 5,000 
recognized species, at present known, and each year adds new ones to 
the list. The reader's surprise at this will somewhat diminish, when 

* Trattati dei Funghi Eoma, 1804. 

t Have not both the words Tode, and the stool called after him, some etymological, 
as they have undoubtedly a fanciful connection with the word todt, death ? 



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THEIR EXTENT. 7 

he considers, that not only the toadstools which beset his walks, whether 
growing upon the ground, or at the roots of trees, belong to this class, 
but that the immense hordes of parasites, which feed at his expense, and 
foul, like the Harpies, whatever they may not actually consume, belong 
to it also. 

For the single mushroom that we eat, how many hundreds there be 
that retaliate and prey upon us in return ! To enumerate but a few 
and these of the microscopic kinds ; (on the other side, are some which 
the arms can scarcely embrace); the Mucor Mucedo, that spawns upon 
our dried preserves; the Ascophxyra Mucedo, that makes our bread 
mouldy, {mucidafrustr a farina,^) ; the Uredo segeium, that bums Ceres 
out of her own cornfields; the TJredo rubigOy whose rust is still more 
destructive ; and the Puccinia graminia, whose voracity sets corn-laws 
and farmers at defiance, are all funguses ! So is the grey Monilia, that 
rots, and then fattens upon, our fruits ; and the Mucor herbariorum, that 
destroys the careful gleanings of the pains-taking botanist. When our 
beer becomes mothery, the mother of that mischief is a fungus. If 
pickles acquire a bad taste, if ketchup turns ropy and putrifies, funguses 
have a finger in it all ! Their reign stops not here ; they prey upon 
each other ; they even select their victims ! There is the Mgrothecium 
viride, which will only grow upon dry Agarics, preferring, chiefly, for 
this purpose, the A. adustm. The Mucor 'f chrgsospermtis, which attacks 
the flesh of a particular Boletm ; the Sclerotium cornutum, which visits 
some other moist mushrooms in decay. There are some Xglomas that 
vdll spot the leaves of the maple, and some those of the willow, exclu- 
sively. The naked seeds of some are found burrowing between the 

* Juyenal. 

t Few minute objects are more beautiful than certain of these mxiddlxiOVA fungi fungorum, 
A common one besets the back of some of the RussuUb in decay, spreading over it, espe- 
cially if the weather be moist, like thin flocks of light wool, presenting on the second day 
a bluish tint on the surface. Under a powerful magnifier, myriads of little glass-like stalks 
are brought into view, which bifurcate again and again, each ultimate twig ending in a 
semilucent head, or button, at first blue, and afterwards black ; which, when it comes to 
burst, scatter the spores, which are then, (under the microscope,) seen adhering to the 
sides of the delicate filamentary stalks like so many minute limpets. 



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8 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OP ENGLAND, 

opposite surface of leaves; some love the neighbourhood of burned 
stubble and charred wood; some visit the sculptor in his studio, 
growing up amidst the heaps of moistened marble dust that have caked 
and consolidated under his saw. The Bacodium of the low cellar * 
festoons its ceiling, shags its walls, and wraps its thick coat round our 
wine casks, t keeping our oldest wine in closest bond; while the 
Ge-astrum, aspiring occasionally to leave this earth, has been found 
suspended, like Mahomet's coflfin, between it and the stars, on the very 
highest pinnacle of St. Paul's. J The close cavities of nuts occasionally 
aflTord concealment to some species ; others, like leeches, stick to the 
bulbs of plants and suck them dry ; these, (the architect's and ship- 
builder's bane,) pick timber to pieces, as men pick oakum ; nor do 
they confine their selective ravages to plants alone, they attach themselves 
to animal structures and destroy animal life ; the Oxygena equina has a 
particular fancy for thd hoofs of horses, and for the horns of cattle, 
sticking to these alone ; the belly of a tropical fly § is liable in Autumn, 
to break out into vegetable tufts of fungous growth ; and the caterpillar 
to carry about on his body a Clavaria larger than himself. The disease 
called Muscadine, which destroys so many silk-worms, is also a fimgus 
{Botrytis Basiana), which in a very short time completely fills the worm 
with filaments very unlike those it is in the habit of secreting. || The 

* Vide the London Docks, passim ; where he pays his unwelcome visits and is in even 
worse odour than the exciseman. 

t " Sir Joseph Banks having a cask of wine, rather too sweet for immediate use, he 
directed that it should be placed in a cellar, that the saccharine it contained might be more 
decomposed by age ; at the end of three years he directed his butler to ascertain the state 
of the wine, when on attempting to open the cellar door, he could not effect it, in con- 
sequence of some powerful obstacle; the door was consequently cut down, when the 
cellar was found to be completely filled with a ftmgous production, so firm that it was 
necessary to use an axe for its removal. This appeared to have grown from, or to have 
been nourished by the decomposing particles of the wine, the cask being empty, and 
carried up to the ceiling, where it was supported by the fungus." — Chambers's Journal, 

X Withering found one of these plants on the top of St. Paul's Cathedral ; the first he 
had seen ! 

§ Sporendonema Musca. 

II "When healthy caterpillars are placed within reach of a silk-worm that has been 
destroyed by the Botrytis, they, too, contract the disease, and at last perish." — Chambers's 
Journal, October, 1845. 



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FORM, COLOUR, ETC. 9 

vegetating wasp*, too, of which everybody has heard, is only another 
mysterious blending of vegetable with insect life; lastly, and to take 
breath, funguses visit the wards of our hospitals, and grow out of the 
products of surgical diseasef. Where then are they not to be found? 
do they not abound, like Pharoah's plagues, everywhere ? is not their 
name, legion, and their province, ubiquity ?{ 

Of their general Forms, Colours, Textvre, Tastes, Smells, c^r. 

What geometry shall define their ever-varving shapes ; vrho but a 
Venetian painter do justice to their colours ^ ; or what modifications of 
" soft " and '* hard " convey an adequate knowledge of all their various 
erases and consistences? As to shapes, some are simple threads, like 
the Byssm, and never get beyond this ; some shoot out into branches, 
like sea-weed ; some puff themselves out into puff-balls ; some thrust 
their heads into Mitres || ; these assume the shape of a cup % ; and those 
of a wine funnel**; some, like Ag. mavimosus, have a teat ; others, like the 
Jg. Clgjpeolarim, are umbonated at their centre ; these are stilted upon a 
high leg tt; and those have not a leg to stand on ; some are shell-shaped ; 
many bell-shaped; and some hang upon their stalks like a lawyer's 

* A species of Polyairix affected whilst alive, with a parabitic kind of fungus, called 
Sphoeria, which glows out of it, and feeds upon it. 

t Several of the French surgeons have given recitals of cases where, on removal of the 
bandages from sore surfaces, they have found a collection of funguses growing upon them ; 
generally about the size of the finger (Lemery) ; one of them adds, that havinj^ le-applied 
the wrappings, a second batch came out in the course of twenty-four hours, \\xi(\ this for 
several days consecutively. 

X For an accurate description of these funguses, the reader is refeiTed to \\*e oxcellent 
work of Ml*. Berkeley. 

§ These, beautiful, but fleeting as beauty's blush, generally perioh within a fevr hours ; 
but T have seen some, which after a potting of 2,000 years, retained their original hut^s 
unblemished, for they had been potted with the town of Pompeii, and are preserved with 
the other frescoes upon its walls. 

II The Mitrati are not a very numerous class, of which the Morel may be taken as 
the type. 

% The Cupulati, so called in consequence. 

** Ag.piperaiM, ft Ag-proceruft, 

c 



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10 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OF ENGLAND. 

wig*; some assume the fonn of the horse's hoof; others of a goat's 
beard; the Phallus impudicus is the very thing he calls himself; in the 
Clathrm cancellatm you look into the fungus through a thick red trellis 
which surrounds it. Some exhibit a nest in which they rear their 
young t, and not to speak of those vague shapes, 

" If shapes they can be called, that shape have none 
Determinate/^ 

of such tree parasites, as are fain to mould themselves at the will of 
their entertainer (the fate of parasites, whether under oak or maho- 
gany), mention may be made of two, of which the forms are at once 
singular and constant; one exactly like an ear, and given for some 
good reason to Judas {Auricula Juda), clings to several trees, and 
trembles when you touch it ; the other, which lolls out fix)m the bark of 
chesnut trees {Lingua de Castagnd)^ is so like a tongue in shape, 
and general appearance}, that in the days of enchanted trees, you 
would not have cut it off to pickle, or to eat, on any account, lest the 
knight to whom it belonged should afterwards come to claim it of 
you. The above are amongst the most remarkable of the many 
Protean forms assumed by funguses ; as to their colours, we find in one 
genus only, species which correspond to every hue ! The Ag, Casareus, 
the Ag, mmcariuSy the Ag. sanguineus^ assume the imperial purple ; the 
Ag, violaceus, a beautiful violet ; the Ag. stdphureus, a bright yellow ; the 
Ag, adustus, a dingy black ; the Ag. ewquisitus, and many others, a milk- 
white ; whilst the Ag. virescens takes that which, in this class of plants, 
is the rarest of all to meet with, a pale green colour ; the upper surface 
of some is zoned with concentric circles of different hues ; sometimes it 
is spotted, at other times of an uniform tint ; the bonnets of some shine 

* Jgaricus comatus, in allusion, no doubt, to which Plautus says of the Lord Chancellor 
of his day, " Fungino genere est capiti se totum tegit," that his wig was so long as to 
hide his whole person. 

t Tlie Nidularias do so. 

X The surface is rough with elevated papillse ; the structure fibrous ; the flesh softly 
elastic ; the colour bright red, looking like the tongue in the worst forms of gastro-enterite, 
with which its cold clammy surface when touched, offers no correspondence. 



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ODOURS AND TASTES. 11 

as if they were sprinkled with mica*; these have a rich velvety, those a 
smooth and kid-like covering, stretched over them ; some Filet are im- 
bricated with brown scales ; some flocked with white shi^eds of mem- 
brane ; and some are stained with various coloured milks secreted from 
within. The consistence of funguses is very different according to their 
sort, and the epithets of woody, corky, leathery, spongy, fleshy, gela- 
tinous, pulpy, or mucous, will all find fitting application to some of 
them ; occasionally a fungus is secreted soft, but hardens by degrees into 
a compact and woody texture. 

Odours and Tastes, 

Both one and the other are far more numerous in this class of plants 
than in any other with which we are acquainted. As to odours, though 
these be generally most powerful in the firesh condition of the fungus, 
they are sometimes increased by drying it, during which process too, some 
species, inodorous before, acquire an odour, and not always a pleasant 
one. Some yield an insupportable stench ; the Phallus impudicus, and 
Clathrus cancellatus are of this kind ; a botanist had by mistake, taken 
one of the former into his bed-room, he was soon awakened by an 
intolerable faetor, and was glad to open his vrindow, and get rid of it, 
as he hoped, and the Phallus^ together; here he was disappointed, 
" sublatd causa non tollitur effectus'' the faetor remaining nearly the same 
for some hours afterwards ; a lady, a friend of mine, who was drawing 
one in a room, was obliged to take it into the open air to complete her 
sketoh. As to the Clathrus, I have found ten minutes in a room with 
it, nine too many ; it becomes insupportably offensive in a short time, 
and its infective stench has given rise to a superstition entertained of it 
throughout the Landes, viz., that it is capable of producing cancer, in 
consequence of which superstition, the inhabitants, who call it Cancrou 
or Cancer, cover it carefully over, lest by accident some one should 
chance to touch it, and become infected with that horrible disease, in 

* Ag. micaceus. 
c2 

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12 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OF ENGLAND. 

consequence.* Batsch has described an Agaric f of so powerful and 
peculiar a smell, that before he could finish his picture, (for he was 
drawing it,) a violent headache made him desist, " vehementi afficiebar 
caj)ifis da. ore." Of the others, some are grave-olent, in a savoury, or in 
an unsavomy sense ; this smells strong of onions } , that of cinnamon § , 
from v» li'ch it takes it name ; the Jff. ostrealus (auct. nost.) most power- 
uilly of 'Jaixagon ; A. odoruSy and the cantharellm, like apricots and 
ratafia Purton;; Boletus salicinits, "like the bloom of May" (Abbot); 
die J. sanrr.lneiis, when dry, savours of a stale poultice ; A, piperatus, 
of the Triolia, or red mullet ; the Hydna, generally give out a smell of 
tallow ; moulds have their own smells which are mouldy or musty ; some 
exhale the smell of putrid meat ; many the odour of fresh meal ; the 
spawn of A, prunulm, and of the puff-balls {Ly coper dons), exhale an 
odour similar to the perfect plants, but the Pietra fangaiay filled with 
the spores of its own Polyporus, is without smell. When fresh, there is 
scai'cely any perceptible odour in Boletus edulisy or B, luridm, nor yet in 
the L Casaretis, when recently gathered. A word about their tastes 
vvili suffice ; V ith so many smells, they must needs have flavours to cor- 
respond ; and so they have : sapid, sweet, sour, peppery, rich, rank, acrid, 
nauseous, bitter, styptic, might be all found in an English "gradus" 
(though at present, I am sorry to say, without any lines from poets, in 
vrhose writings they occur), after the word "Fungus." In a few, gene- 
lallv of an unsafe character, there is little or no taste in the mouth while 
they are being masticated, but shortly after deglutition, the fauces become 
dry, and a sense of more or less constriction is apt to supervene, which 
frequently continues for some time afterwards. 

Expansive power ofyrowth. 

Soft and yielding as vegetable structiu^s appear to the touch, the 
expansive force of their growth is almost beyond calculation ; the effects 

* Thore. t Jgaricus narcoticm Batsch, Fasic. vol. 2. pi. 81. 

X A. alliacem. § Ag. cinnamomem. 



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EXPANSIVE POWER OF GROWTH. 13 

of this Power, of which the experience of every one will furnish him with 
some instances, are, perhaps, nowhere more strikingly exemplified than 
amidst the mins of its own creation. Coeval with many old brick fabrics 
of earUer times, perhaps imbedded in the very mortar which holds them 
together, it may lurk there for centuries in quiescence, till once arousing 
its energies, it continues to exert them in ceaseless activity ever after. 
It has at Rome planted its pink Valerians on her highest towers, and its 
wild fig-tree in the breaches of her walls ; nor are the granite obeUsks 
of her piazzas, nor the classic groups in marble on her Quirinal mount, 
entirely exempt from its encroachments ; a conspiracy of plants, one 
hundred strong, have long ago planned the destruction of the Colosseum, 
their undermining process advances each year, and neither iron or new 
brick- work can arrest it long; that old Roman cement, which the 
Barbarians gave up as impracticable, and the pick-axe of the Barberini 
had but began to dis-integrate, will, ere the lapse of another century, 
be effectually pulled to pieces by the rending arm of vegetation. Here, 
as erst in Juvenal's time, the Mala ficus finds no walls too strong to 
rive asimder ; no tower beyond the reach of its scaling ; no monument 
too sacred for it to touch. In the class of plants immediately imder 
consideration, while the expansive effort of growth is equal to what it is 
in other cases, its effects are far more startling from their suddeness. 
Mons. Bulhard (to cite one or two instances out of a great many) 
relates, that on placing a Phallus impudicm within a glass vessel, the 
plant expanded so rapidly, as to shiver its sides with an explosive 
detonation, as loud as that of a pistol. Dr. Carpenter, in his * Elements 
of Physiology,' mentions that " in the neighbourhood of Basingstoke, a 
paving-stone, measuring twenty-one inches square, and weighing eighty- 
three pounds, was completely raised an inch and a half out of its bed, 
by a mass of toadstools, of from six to seven inches in diameter, and 
that nearly the whole pavement of the town suffered displacement from 
the same cause." A friend has seen a crop of puff-balls raise large 
flag-stones, considerably above the plane of their original level ; and I 
have myself recently witnessed an extensive displacement of the pegs of 



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14 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OF ENGLAND. 

a wooden pavement, which had been driven nine inches into the ground, 
but were heaved up irregularlyi in several places by small bouquets of 
Agarics, growing from below. 

Reproductive power. 

Funguses have a remarkable power of re-forming such parts of their 
substance as have been accidentally or otherwise removed. Vittadini 
found that when the tubes of a Boletus were cut out from a growing 
plant, they were after a time re-produced ; where deep holes have been 
eaten into these plants by snails, such holes, on the Boletus attaining to 
its full growth, are partially re-filled. If the tender Polyporus be cut 
across, the wound immediately sets about healing by the first intention, 
leaving not even a cicatrice to mark the original seat of the injury. The 
Lycoperdons {bovista)y which are often accidentally wounded by the 
scythe, have the same faculty of repairing the injury : re-modelling afresh 
the parts that may have been excised from them.* 

Motio7i, 

In a recent work on * Insect Life,' I have discoursed somewhat at large 
on the insufficiency of any kind of movements as proofs of sensation, 
quoting, amidst other evidences to this effect, certain remarkable move- 
ments in plants ; some of the present family exhibit the phenomena of 
insensitive motion in a remarkable manner, and might have been added 
to the list already cited in that publication. Mr. Robson has given us a 
very interesting accoimt of the movements he observed in the scarlet 
ClathruSy which is here transcribed in his own words ; it is interesting 
to notice how an unbiassed observer uses the very terms to designate 
the movements of a plant, which would have been minutely descriptive 
of those of an insect. " At first I was much surprised to see a part of 
the fibres, that had got through a rupture in the top of the ClathruSy 
moving like the legs of a fly, when laid on his back ; I then touched it 

* Fries. 



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MOTION. PHOSPHORESCENCE. 15 

with the point of a pin, and was still more surprised, when I saw it 
present the appearance of a little bundle of worms entangled together, 
the fibres being all alive ; I next took the httle bimdle of fibres quite 
out, and the animal motion was then so strong, as to turn the head half 
way roimd, first one way, and then another, and two or three times it 
got out of the focus. Almost every fibre had a different motion, some 
of them twined round one another, and then untwined again; whilst 
others were bending, extending, coiling, waving, &c.; the fibres had 
many little balls adhering to their sides, which I take to be the seeds, and 
I observed many of them to be disengaged at every motion of the fibres, 
the seeds appeared like gunpowder finely granulated." Instances from 
other authors abound. An Helvella inflata on being touched by me once, 
threw up its seeds in the form of a smoke, which arose with an elastic 
bound, glittering in the sunshine like particles of silver.* " The Fibrissea 
truncorum, taken from water, and exposed to the rays of the sun, though 
at first smooth, is soon covered with white geniculated filaments, which 
start from the hyvienimn, and have an oscillating motion "f* The PiloboluSy 
of which so accurate an account has been given us by the great Florentine 
mycologist J, casts, as its name imports, its seeds into the air ; these also 
escape with a strong projectile force from the upper surface of JPezizas, 
the anfractuosities of the Morels and from the gills of Agarics S . 

jPho^horescence, 

Several kinds of funguses, and the spawn of the truffle, emit a phospho- 
rescent Ught \ of the first, the Agaricua oleariuSy not uncommon in Italy, 
is sometimes seen at night, feebly shining amidst the darkness of the 
olive grove. The coal mines near Dresden have long been celebrated 
for the production of funguses which emit a light similar to a pale 
moon-light. Mr. Drummond describes an Australian fungus with similar 

* Bolton. t Persoon. J Micheli. 

§ These last placed in a wineglass, over a sheet of white paper, frequently disperse the 
seminal dust over a ring of twice the natural dimensions of the Aganc. 



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IG ESCULENT FUNGUSES OF ENGLAND. 

properties ; and another very interesting one, an J^aric, is noticed by 
Mr. Gardner, in his 'Travels in Brazil'*. 

Difnemions, 

Most funguses do not present great anomalies in their size, but retain 
nearly the same dimensions throughout the whole course of their being ; 
some few species, however, seem to have a faculty of almost indefinite 
expansion. The usual size of a puff-ball, as we all know, is not much 
larger than an egg, but some puflf-balls attain to the dimensions of the 
human head, f or exceed it. ]\Ir. Berkeley quotes the case of a JPolyporm 
squamosm, which in three weeks grew to seven feet five inches in peri- 
phery, and weighed thirty-four pounds ; also of a Polyponis fraxinem^ 
which in a few years measured forty-two inches across. Clusius J tells us 
of a fungus in Pannonia, of such immense size, that after satisfying the 

* " One dark night, about the beginning of December, while passing along the streets of 
the Villa de Natividade, I observed some boys amusing themselves with some luminous 
object, which I at first supposed to be a kind of large fire-fly ; but on making enquiry I 
found it to be a beautiful phosphorescent fungus, belonging to the genus Agarums, and 
was told that it grew abundantly in the neighbourhood, on the decaying leaves of a dwarf 
palm. Next day I obtained a great many specimens, and found them to vary fi-om one 
to two and a half inches across. The whole plant gives out at night a bright phospho- 
rescent light, of a pale greenish hue, similar to that emitted by the larger fire-flies, or by 
those curious soft-bodied marine animals, the PyrosonuB ; from this circumstance, and 
from growing on a palm, it is called by the inhabitants * Flor do Coco ;' the light given 
out by a few of these fungi in a dark room, was sufiicient lo read by. It proved to be 
quite a new species, and since my return from Brazil, has been described by the Rev. 
M. J. Berkeley under the name of Agancut* Gardneri, from preserved specimens which 
I brought home *': — Travels in the Interior of Brazil, 1846. 

t Hence it was called Kpaviov (Vide Theoph. Lib. vol. 1. cap. 9.) by the ancients. 
Cesalpinus describes it under the name of Feziza, and reports that it is common in the 
woods of Pisa, whence men gather to eat them. We read also, in an ancient Italian 
writer (Cicinelli) that the enviions of Padua produce enormoua puff-balls, of which one 
(unless this author was given to puffing) measured not less than two feet across, in one 
direction, being upwards of a foot and a half in its least diameter. It was big enough, 
he says, to have written on its rind the celebrated inscription attributed by Dion Cassiua 
to the Dacians, which they presented to the Emperor : — " in quo scriptum erat Latinis 
Uteris Burros sociosque omnes eum hortari ut domum reverteretur pacemque coleret." Other 
authors also (Alph. de Tuberibus, not trufifles but puff-balls, cap. xvii. Imperato, Hist. 
Nat. Hoi. vol. 27. cap. v.) speak of puff-balls of sixty and one hundred pounds weight. 

X Hist. Plant, vol. ii. p. 275. 



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CHEMICAL COMPOSITION. 17 

cravings of a large mycophilous household, enough of it remained to fill a 
chariot ; this must have been the Polyporusfrondoamy to which Polyporua 
John Bapt. Porta* also alludes, as that called ya//e;«flj(?et, by the Neapo- 
litans, which is so big, he says, that you can scarcely make your hands 
meet round it, "brachiis diductis vix homo complecti possif; he 
had known it attain twelve pounds weight in a few days}. Bolton, in 
1787, found an Agaricm muscarim, which, " after the removal of a con- 
siderable portion of its stalk, weighed nearly two pounds "; Withering, 
an Ag. Georgii, " which weighed fourteen pounds," and Mr. Stackhouse 
another of the same species in CJomwaU, " which was eighteen inches 
across, and bad a stem as thick as a man's wrist "; and I lately picked 
in the park at Buckhurst, a B, edulis which measured twenty-eight inches 
round its pileus, and eight round the stem, and a few days later a 
B.pachypuB^ the girth of which was thirty -two inches. 

Chemical composition. 

Of all vegetable productions these are the most highly azotized, that 
is, animalised in their composition, a fact not only evinced by the strong 
ciadaverous smell which some of them give out in decay, and by the 
savoury animalised meat which others afford at table, but on the 
evidence of chemistry also. Thus Dr. Marcet has proved that, like animals, 
they absorb a large quantity of oxygen, and disengage in return, from 
their surface, a large quantity of carbonic acid ; all, however, do not 
exhale carbonic acid, but in lieu of it, some give out hydrogen, and others 
azotic gas. They yield, moreover, to chemical analysis the several com- 
ponents of which animal structures are made up ; many of them in 
addition to sugar, gum, resin, a peculiar acid called fungic acid, and a 

* Villae, Lib. voL x. cap. 80. 

t By this word, however, the vulgar generally understood the Oantharellus cibarius, 
X This species, which is somewhat rare in England, occurred in abundance this year in 
the neighbourhood of Tonbridge Wells. I found four specimens of it on the oak roots in 
the Grove, one of which rose nearly a foot from the ground, measured considerably more 
than two and a half feet across, and weighed from eighteen to twenty pounds ; the other 
specimens were of much smaller dimensions. 

D 



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18 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OF ENGLAND. 

variety of salts, furnish considerable quantities of albumen, adipocire, and 
oamazomey which last is that principle that gives its peculiar flavour to 
meat gravy. The Polyporus sulpAureus is frequently covered with little 
crystals of the binoxalate of potash;* the A^aricm pyperatua yields the 
acetate of potash.f and it is probable that other funguses of which we 
have, as yet, no recorded analysis, will, on the institution of such, be 
found to contain some new and unexpected ingredient peculiar to them- 
selves. When these several substances have been duly extracted fix)m 
funguses, there is left behind for a conmion base, the solid structure of 
the plant itself ; this, which is called fongine, is white, flabby, insipid in 
its taste, but highly nutritious in its properties. If nitric acid be poured 
upon it, an immediate dis-engagement of azotic gas takes place, and 
several new substances are the result : a bitter principle, a reddish resinoid 
matter, hydro-cyanic and oxalic acids, and two remarkable fatty sub- 
stances, whereof one resembles tallow, the other wax. If dilute sulphuric 
acid be poured upon this fungine, no change ensues ; but if muriatic add 
be substituted, the result is a jelly. 

Uses. 

The uses to which funguses have been put, are various, and had the 
properties of these plants been as extensively investigated, as those which 
belong to the phanerogamic classes, they would, probably, by this time, 
have proved still more numerous ; some, as the Polyporus eulphureus, 
furnish a useful colour for dying ; ( the Agaricm atramentariua makes ink ; 
divers Zyccfperdons, of which other mention will be made presently when 
we come to speak of such species as are esculent, have also been em- 
ployed for stupifying bees, for staunching blood, and for making tinder ; 
their employment in the first of these capacities, seems to have escaped the 
observation of the accurate author of ' Les Jardins,' who has mentioned 

the others — 

" Ce pmssant Agaric qui da sang epanch^ 
ArTcte les ndsseaux, et dont le seia fidde 
Du caillon p^tillant recueille F^tincelle*'' 

* Eobtrt Scott, Act. Linn. Soc. vol. 8. p. 202. f Dufresnoy. | Koqueii. 



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USES, 19 

The " caillou '*, alas, like the poet who struck this spark out of it, is now 
obsolete; but Amadou is stiU in vogue, being employed for many 
household purposes; in addition to which a medical practitioner of 
Covent Grarden, has of late been in the habit of using extensive sheets of 
it to cover over, and protect the backs of those bedridden invalids, whose 
cruel sufierings make such large demands upon our sympathy, for the 
alleviation of which so little is to be done ! as it is more elastic than 
chamois leather, it is less liable to crumple up when lain upon, and on 
tins account has been preferred to it by several of our metropolitan 
surgeons of eminence ; some employ it also as a gentle compress over 
varicose veins, where it supports the distended vessels without pressing 
too tightly upon the limb. Gleditsch relates, that the poorer inhabitants 
of Franconia stitch it together, and make dresses of it ; and also that 
the Laplanders bum it in the neighbourhood of their dwellings, to 
secure their reindeer from the attacks of gad-flies, which are repelled 
by the smoke ; thus, " good at need '', it really deserves the epithet of 
" puissant*', given to it by Delille.* 

The Folyporm sqmmoma makes a razor-strop far superior to any of 
those at present patented, and sold^ with high-sounding epithets, far 
beyond their deserts. To prepare the Polyporu% for this purpose, it 
must be cut from the ash tree in autunm, when its juices have been 
dried, and its substance has become consolidated ; it is then to be flat- 
tened out, for twenty.four hours, in a press, after which it should be 
carefully rubbed with pumice, sliced longitudinally, and every slip that 
is free from the erosions of insects be then glued upon a wooden 

* Amadou is largely used it Italy, where it is called "esca"; tlie Latins likewise knew 
it by this name, though their more common appellation for it was fomei ; the Byzantine 
Greeks hellenicized eaca into ^otko^, which was their word for it ; the ancient Greeks 
called it ivmvpov, Salmasius tells us how it used to be made in his time, which, indeed, 
was the same as now ; the fungus was first boiled, then beaten to pieces in a mortar, next 
hammered out, to deprive it of its woody fibres, and, lastly, being steeped in a strong solu- 
tion of nitre, was left to dry in the sun. It appears on the testimony of the anonymous 
author of the article ' Fungo ' in the * Dizionario Classico di Medicina ', that it is also eaten 
when young, but I cannot speak of it from personal experience. ** In prima eta mangiasi 
oolto di fresco afifetato e condito d'ogni modo ; specialmente nelle Provincie di Belluno ed 
^ine, aalasi per la quadragesima.*' 

d2 



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20 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OF ENGLAND. 

stretcher. Cesalpinus knew all this ! and the barbers in his time knew 
it too,* and it is not a little remarkable that so useful an invention 
should, in an age of puiflBng, advertisement, and improvement, like our 
own, have been entirely lost sight of. Imperato employed, and recom- 
mends it as an excellent detergent, with which to brush and comb out 
the scurf from the hair. 

The Agaricm muscariua is largely employed in Kamtschatka, in de- 
coction, with the Epilobium angmtifolium^ as an intoxicating liquor,t and 
as it communicates the Uke intoxicating qualities to the urine, this is kept, 
in consequence, for the renewal of these orgies. The Laplanders smear it 
on the walls, and bed-posts of their dwellings, to destroy bugs (linn.) ; and 
Clusius relates, that it is sold extensively in the market at Frankfort, to 
poison flies ; for this purpose it is either cut into small pieces, and thrown 
about the premises, or else boiled in milk, and placed upon the window- 
sills; in either case it is vastly inferior in efficacy to that celebrated 
" mort aux mouches", the impure oxide of cobalt, that is, to the arsenic 
which this contains. Formerly, a tincture was made of the Scleroderma 
cervinum, so called because it was thought to have a peculiar effect on 
the stag, at a certain season, and was offered to the public in Germany 
as a most potent aphrodisiac ! Gleditsch reports that analogous effects are 
known to follow the mastication of pieces of FL impudicm. The above 
are a few of the uses, exclusive of the esculent or medical ones, to which 
funguses have been put ; it is fair, however, to notice that they main- 
tain a debtor, as well as a creditor, account with mankind, in which the 
balance seems to be occasionally quite against us ; those that are most 

* " Di questo fungo senravanosene i barbieri in cambio delle stniggbie dette piu vol- 
garemente codette atte a far reprendere il perduto filo a loro rasoi." 

t " This is the " Moucho more " of the Bussians, Kamtschatdales, and Koriacs, who use 
it for intoxication ; they sometimes eat it dry, but more commonly immersed in a liquor, 
made iBrom the EpUohium^ and when they drink this liquor, they are seized with convul- 
sions in all their limbs, followed with that kind of raying which accompanies a burning 
fever ; they personify this mushroom, and if they are urged by its effects to suicide, or any 
other dreadful crime, they pretend to obey its commands ; to fit themselves for preme- 
ditated assassination they recur to the use of the Moucho more."— -Eess. Cyclopedia^ 
Art, Agaric, 



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MEDICAL USE8. 21 

injurious, are generally, as has been already stated, of the microscopic 
kinds; whereof some attack young plants still underground, emulging 
them completely of their juices, in consequence of which they perish ; 
others, like the com bUghts, permit the plant to attain maturity before 
they begm their work of destruction, and destroy it just as it is begin- 
ning to fiructify.* The fearful epidemics, to which grain so infected has 
given rise axe well known, though it is still a matter of question whether 
the ergotted com owes its unwholesome quaUties to the injury which it 
had sustained from the blight, or to the blight itself. Though the 
mischief produced by parasitic funguses be unquestionably great, this 
occasional and veiy partial evil is more than compensated by the much 
greater amount of good, accomplished solely by their agency, in the 
assistance they afford to the decomposition of animal and vegetable 
tissues, which has procured for them the name, not unaptly appUed, 
of " nature's scavengers'*. This decomposition they effect by assimilating 
through the medium of their radicles, the juices of the decaying stmcture 
in which they are developed, loosening thereby its cohesion, and causing 
it to break up into a rapid dissolution of its parts.f 

Medical uses. 

Op the funguses formerly employed in medicine, few are now in vogue, 
the ergot of rye still keeps its ground, and in cases of protracted labour, 
when judiciously employed, is valuable in assisting nature when unequal 
to the necessary efforts of parturition. Another fungus formerly much 
in fashion, though now put on the shelf, seems really to deserve further 
trial; I mean the Polyporus suaveolens (Linn.), which in that most 

"^^ In snch cases the minute fongos is probably absorbed in ovo and disseminated 
with the sap through the plant ; as this ascends from the root, it remams undeveloped, 
however, till the com is in ear, at which time it finds in the nascent grain the necessary 
conditions for its own developement. 

t The mischief thus produced by dry-rot may be arrested by steeping the affected 
timber in a solution of corrosive sublimate, which, forming a chemical union with the juices 
of the woody fibre, prevents their being abstracted by the dry-rot that would else have 
maintained itself and spread at their expense. 



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22 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OF ENGLAND. 

intractable disease tubercular consumption, surely claims to be tried, 
when there are such respectable authorities to vouch for its surprising 
effects, in cases where everything else had been notoriously unsuccessful.* 
Sartorius was the first to prescribe it as a remedy in phthisis, and its 
employment with this view, since his day, has at various times been prae- 
conised, on the continent, the dose generally recommended being a scruple 
of the powder two or three times a day. Of the cases published by 
Professors Schmidel and Wendst (which have an air of good faith, in their 
recital, well entitling them to consideration), I abridge one as an example, 
though the others are not less interesting ; and while it is certainly to be 
regretted that the absence of stethoscopic indications should prevent our 
having any positive evidence as to the precise condition of the diseased 
lung, or of the nature of the secretion expectorated ; still, even supposing 
them to be simple cases of chronic bronchitis, vrith marasmus, the efficacy 
of the remedy is scarcely less striking or instructive. *' A young man, 
setat. twenty-one, was seized, at the begmning of autimm, with inflam- 
matory cough and haemoptysis, which were partially subdued by V.S., 
and the ordinary anti-phlogistic treatment; but the cough coming on 
again with renewed severity, during the winter, was accompanied with 
the expuition of glairy mucus which was sometimes specked vrith blood ; 
towards the spring, the young man had become much thinner, and was 
continuing to waste away ; the expectoration also had changed its colour, 
and had become fetid and green, his nights were feverish, and disturbed ; 
he had no desire for food, and ate but little; his ancles had begun to 
swell; he had copious night-sweats and diarrhaea — a tea-spoonful of an 
electuary of the P. suaveokns, in honey, was given him three times a day, 
and nothing eke, and, extraordinary as it may appear, under this treatment 
the sweats speedily began to diminish with the cough, and after a three 
month's continuance of the medicine, the patient entirely recovered.'"! 

* A reputation tliat reyives may not be so good as one that survives, but the yery fact 
of such revival shows that the good opinion formerly entertained was not altogether groundless. 

t Enslin was in the habit of uniting this Folyporus with Peruvian Bark, and obtained 
firom it the happiest results " Omnium mihi arridet connubium ejus cum oortice Peruviano," 
to whidi " connubium ", no doubt, some of its good effects are to be attributed. 



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MEDICAL T78SS. 23 

Most funguses taken internally are supposed to act as aphrodisiacs, 
but tlie very scent of tliis, is, according to Linnaeus, enough for the pur- 
pose. " Our young men," says he, " having found out the secret, are in 
the habit of dancing with a bit of it hanging in a bag before them 
" marsupio ante pubem pendulo", that they may please their nymphs by 
its sweet odour, on which the old naturalist indulges himself in a 
humourous apostrophe to Venus: — '^ridiculous Goddess, you who in 
foreign regions are wont to indulge in cofiee, chocolate, and spices ; in 
comfits, dainties, and wines ; in gems, and in pearls ; in gold, and in 
silver ; in dresses, and cosmetics ; in music, the theatre, the dance, and 
in the love-feast ; are here fain to put up vdth, and to be entertained 
by, the odour of a dry fungus." 

The Polyporw laricis, the so-called Agaric of pharmacy, is a powerful, 
but most uncertain medicine, and has been also recommended in con* 
sumption. I once administered a few grains of it in this disease when 
violent pains and hypercatharsis supervened, which lasted for several 
hours. Mens. B. Lagrange and Braconnot, found it to contain a large 
quantity of an acrid resin, to which it no doubt owes its hypercathartic 
properties. To judge from this single case, which, however, tallies vrith 
the experience of others, I should say that this fungus was, in medicine, 
to be looked upon as a very suspicious ally.* The J. muscarim has also 
been used in medicine. Whistling, so long ago as 1778, wrote on its 
healing virtues, in Latin, recommending its powder as a valuable appli- 
cation with which to sprinkle sanious sores, and excoriated nipples. 
Plenck gave drachm doses of it internally in epilepsy, and, together 
with Bemhard and Whistling, attests its success. It appears that the 
PhaUm mucus in China, and the Lycoperdon cardnomale near the Cape 
of Good Hope, are used also by the inhabitants of those countries, as 
external applications for cancerous sores. The PhaUus, rubbed upon 
the skin, is said to deaden its sensibility, like the narke or electric skate. 

* Haller relates that the inhabitants of Piedmont, are in the habit of swallowing a small 
piece of this Agaric, when they have drnnk with their water some of those small leeches 
in which it abounds. Bomare mentions of this same Agaric, that the inhabitants of 
Balca use it in powder to heal blains in their cattle. 



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24 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OP ENGLAND. 

FtinguBea considered as an Article of Diet 

If all the good things ever said about the stomach since the days of 
Menenius Agrippa, or before his time, could be collected, they would 
doubtless form an interesting volume ; Aretaeus has somewhere quaintly, 
but not unaptly, called it the " house of Plato "; in another place he 
speaks of it as the " seat " (as if tcdT'e^dxnv) " of pleasure and of pain '"; 
and so it is, indeed ! and it has, moreover, a notorious tendency, when 
provoked, to cool our charity and to heat our blood ; its sympathies by 
nervous attachments, both of " continuity " and of " contiguity **,* with 
the other organs of the body, are extensive and complicated; no wonder 
then that it should have enlisted ours in its behalf, and that few of us 
would offend it wittingly, though by indiscretions we do oflFend it con- 
tinually. 

In the '* Sensual Philosophy '* of the French school particularly, the 
stomach has received marked attention, ranking in that country as the 
most noble of the viscera.f Even in those republican times when no 
other rights were held sacred, throughout France, the privileges^ the 
stomach were respected ; when men found that they might get on quite 
as well, or better, with a bad heart, but that they could not get on so 
well without a good digestion, it is not so much to be wondered at if 
they made idols of their bellies, established a School of Cooks to rival 
the School of Athens, and became famous for " those charming little 
suppers in which they used to set the decencies of life at defiance"}. 
But if in France far too much attention has been paid to the culinary 
art, too httle attention has surely been paid to it at home ; for the art 
of cookery, properly understood, is not only the art of pleasing the 
palate, but the stomach also. I In France, the dinner is the thought 

* Hunter. 

t It is tlie Frenchman's heart ! J'ai mal au coeur, means, as every one knows, in the 
French tongue, not " I am sick at heart '*, as it professes to say, but " I am sick at 
stomach " ! 

t Walpole. 

II The phrase '* I like it, but it does not like me ", which one sometimes hears at table, 



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AN ARTICLE OF DIET. 26 

of the morning, and sometimes the business of the day, but in France 
everybody dines ; in England, where the word dinner never occurs till 
it is announced, a few wealthy men dine well, the middling ranks 
badly, and the poor not at all. Not that even the poorer orders 
generally want the necessary materials for such repast ; they frequently 
consume more butchers' meat than is consumed by their continental 
neighbours ; it is simply that they want skill in preparing it. If it be 
scanty, they cannot tell how to make the most of it ; if it be homely, 
they cannot tell how to improve its flavour by uniting and blending 
with it a certain class of inexpensive luxuries, which, though they grow 
everywhere throughout the country, are everywhere neglected. Touching 
the wholesomeness or unwholesomeness of these, I have now a few words 
to address to the conunon sense reader; that is, to him who prefers 
feasting upon funguses to fasting out of mere prejudice. Formerly men 
used to refer such questions as this to their physician ; they would 

''Try what Mead or Chesdden advised'', J 

intending, perhaps, to take some little poetical licence with it afterwards. 
Abemethy, on the anecdote of the oysters and oyster-shells being duly 
substantiated, would have been ostracised from polite society in those 
days of decorous etiquette, when, as medical men affected to be more 
dientereumatic with the insides of their patients than any of us now 
pretend to be, they must needs have been far more affable when con- 
sulted on such cases than we of the present day might be; though 
they did not therefore always answer the same question in the same 
way; one, for instance, '' Le mededn Tant JPis^' would frequently jt?ro- 
scrihe the veiy things that his rival, " Le medecin Tant Mieux ", had 
just been reconunending. When men came to find they must either 

having a reference to some particular idiosyncrasy of the party who makes the remark, does 
not invalidate the truth of this general proposition. 

X Pope. Mead, if anybody, ought to have been good authority on the subject of this 
particular diet. He had written, exjprofesso^ upon poisons, and the Florentine Mycologist, 
Micheli, had dedicated several newly-discovered funguses to him. He was, therefore, both 
a Toxicologist and a Mycologist. 



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26 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OF ENGLAND. 

give up some favourite article of food, or else give up the anathema 
pronounced against it, they generally preferred the latter course, and 
were siure, to use a medical phrase, to " do well " if they did so ; whilst 
a few wretched hypochondriacs, adopting the other alternative, and 
living strictly en regime^ became only the more hypochondriacal for their 
pains. 

None but a determined theorist* would now-a-days think of pre- 
scribing diet for the stomach of a single patient, far less for all those of 
a polygastric public ; neither does an enlightened, self-educated public, 
that can read Liebig and thoroughly appreciate its own case, hold out 
much encouragement for such advice. The day is past without return 
for long-winded prose epics on indigestion ; a livelier mode of dealing 
with the subject oinon naturals in the shape of Novels and Romances, 
has won the public ear. Broussais' five-act tragedy of Grastro-Enteritis f 
has received its last plaudits ; abeady has Crabbe's Euthanasia to this 
class of authors attained its full accomplishment : 

^^ Ye tedious triflers, truth^s destructive foes. 
Ye sons of fiction clad in stupid prose, 
Cyerweening teachers, who, yourselves in doubt. 
Light up false fires and send us far about. 
Long may the spider round your pages spin. 
Subtle and slow, her emblematic gin. 
Buried in dust and lost in silence dwell. 
Most potent, dull, and reverend friends, farewell ! " 

No article of diet was ever half so roughly handled as the fungus. 

What diatribes against it might be cited from the works of Athenaeus, 

» 

* " No thought too bold, no airy dream too light. 
That will not prompt your Theorist to write ; 
No fact so stubborn, and no proof so strong, 
Will e'er convince him he could argue wrong." — Crabhe. 

t Broussais divides inflammatory Dyspepsia into Jive parts or acts. That Leach of 
leeches, whose word once passed for more than it was worth, came at last to see himself 
and his sangsues utterly abandoned, and to have the mortification of lecturing in his old 
age to empty benches ! ^tantum rnutatm ah illo, of less than twenty years before, and 
who had been the cause of as much innocent blood shedding as Napoleon himself, and 
used to kill his patients that his leeches might be fed I 



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AN ARTICLE OF DIET. 27 

Dioscorides, Galen, Pliny, the Arabian Physicians, and all their com- 
mentators! — ^What terrible recitals, too, of poisoning from some few 
species, have been industriously circulated, and the unfavourable inference 
drawn from these, been applied to the whole tribe ; a mistake which 
some writers, even in modem times, have perpetuated. Thus, Kirker 
votes the whole " a family of maUgnants"*; thus too, Allen and Battarra 
pen unsolicited apoffes^, and warn us, in an especial manner, to beware 
of them; while ScopoU includes in his very definition of a fungus, 
that it is of a class of plants which are always to be suspected, and 
which are, for the most part, poisonous. Tertullian, with more of 
epigram than of truth, makes out, that for every different hue they 
display, there is a pain to correspond to it, and just so many modes of 
death as there are distinct species { ; to all which, and a great deal more 
similar rhapsody and invective, tens of thousands of our continental 
neighbours in the daily habit of eating nothing else but funguses, might 
reply in the words of Plautus, — 

'' Adeon me foisse fvjngum ut qui illis crederem." 

Those who abuse funguses generally do so from prejudice, rather than 
from personal experience, objecting to their flesh as being heavy of 
digestion, and to their juices, as being more or less prejudicial to health. 
Some say they are too rich, others of too aphrodisiac and heating 
a character : these objections are for the most part, without foundation, 
as those who eat them can abimdantly testify. To quote the authority 
of one or two medical friends on the continent, formed on large 
personal experience, in favour of the excellence of this diet ; — Professors 
Puccinelli of Lucca, Briganti of Naples, Sanguinetti of Rome, Ottaviani 
of Urbino, Viviani of Genoa, are all consumers of funguses. Vittadini, 
whose excellent work on the esculent kinds of Italy is without a rival, 
himself eats, and gives us ample receipts for dressing them. In France, 

* " Fungus qualiscunque sit semper malujnu^y — Kirker, Lib. de peat, 
t " Apage ergo perniciosa isthaec guise blandimenta." 
X " duot colores tot dolores, quot species tot pernicies.*' 

E 2 



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28 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OF ENGLAND. 

a similar service has been rendered to the public by Paulet, Persoon, 
Cordier, and Roques *, who have severally published excellent treatises 
on the various kinds fit for food, as they occur in the different provinces ; 
whilst the influence of the last winter has been the means of intro- 
ducing several new species into the Parisian markets thus causing them 
to be very generally known. Not to multiply individual testimony 
needlessly, let that of Schwaegrichen suffice, who tells us, that on 
seeing the peasants about Nuremberg eating ram mushrooms,! he too, 
for several weeks, restricted himself entirely to this diet, " eating with 
them nothing but bread, and drinking nothing but water, when instead 
of finding his health impaired he rather experienced an increase of 
strength." Vegetior evasit ! as the inscription, at Rome, relates to have 
been the case with St. John when he emei^ed, after one hour's cooking, 
from a cauldron of boiling oil. In a word, that which has been the 
daily bread of nations— the poor man^s manna for many centuries, 
cannot be an unwholesome, much less a dangerous foodf. Funguses 
no doubt, are a rich and dainty fare ; and so whatever objections apply 
to made dishes, in genere^ may apply also to these, which, while they 
contain all the sapid and nutritious constituents of animal food, have 
however an advantage over it, viz : — that while they are as rich in gravy 
as any butchers' meat, their texture is more tender, and their specific 
gravity less. Touching the general question as to the whdesomeness of 

* M. Boques gives at the end of his treatise on funguses, a long list of his mycophilous 
friends, including in the number, many of the most eminent medical men of the French 
capital ; if medical men are more carefiil of what they eat than their neighbours, which, 
however, is exceedingly doubtful. 

t " To eat raw mushrooms " was a proverbial expression among the Greeks, as is shown 
by the passage which Athenaeus quotes out of a play of Antiphanes, called the Proverbs : — 

X Those who themselves know better, smile to read such passages as the following, 
which is to be found in old Gerard's Herbal : — " Galen aflBrms that they (i. e. funguses) 
are all very cold and moist, and therefore do approach unto a venomous and mothering 
facultie, and engender a clammy and pituitous nutriment ; if eaten, therefore, I give my 
advice unto those that love such strange and new-fangled meates, to beware of licking 
honey among thorns, lest the sweetnesse of the one do not countervaille the sharpnesse 
and pricking of the other. 



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AN ARTICLE OP DIET. 29 

made dishes, it might perhaps, be stated as a rule, to which there are 
many exceptions, that the more we vary and combine food, the better chance 
there is of our digesting it.* " You must assist nature," Hippocrates 
says, "by art. You must vary your viands and your drinks. Music 
would tire if it were always to the same tune, so also does a monotonous 
regimen tire.f Cooks, therefore, make muved dishes, and he who should 
always make the same dish, would deservedly pass for not being a cook 
at all.J" And though Sydenham, in apparent discordance with this, 
recommends one dish for dinner, it is quite for another reason. Plain 
food may indeed suit some stomachs, but good cooking suits all stomachs ; 
and when Seneca writes, that " there are as many diseases as cooks,'* 
Roques takes him up properly by replying, " Yes 1 as bad cooks." The 
rule for every dinner, plain or compound, is to dress it well, " that which 

* A life of labour, no doubt, will make the sorriest fare sit more lightly on the 
healthy stomach, than the most dainty viands which have been received into an organ that 
is weakened and goaded by a life of dissipation and excess ; but this does not prove sorry 
fare to be more wholesome than that of a richer kind. — ^No 1 Dyspepsia is a disease of the 
rich ; not because they live upon the fat of the land, but plainly because they indulge in too 
large a quantity at a meal. Let the peasant and the lord change places for a week ; place the 
healthy rustic at the rich man's table, and Dives again at the other board, what would be 
the results to both ? Would the poor man, think you, find indigestion in ragout, fricassees, 
truffles, with light wine, ad libitum, to drink with them ? and would not the rich man find 
that the fat pork and hard beer, were worse poison than any of the made-dishes, against 
which he has been so lavish in his blame ? In general, no doubt, to be " the happiest 
of mortals — to digest well " (Yoltaire), men should look more to the quantum, and less 
to the quale, of what they eat ; but they should pay some attention to this too. 

f ^p di ir6vTa Sfiota noirioTj ovk tx't rc/nf^iy. n.A. A. 10. 

X That I did not always hold such an opinion as the above to which I have since 
given in my adhesion, the following ode to Eupepsia, written in the days of theoretical 
inexperience, will sufficiently testify. I am now convinced that Hippocrates was right ! — 

H^py the man whose prndent care He dines unscathed, who dines alone I 
Plain boiled and roast discreetly boond ; Or shnns abroad those comer dishes ; 

Content to feed on homely fare, No Roman garlics make him groan. 
On British ground t Nor matelotte fishes. 

Sound sleep renounces eugared pease ! — Then let not Vcrey*8 treacherous skill. 

No nightmares haunt tiie modest ration Nor Vefour's, try thy peptic forces ; 

Of tender steak, that yields with ease One comes to swallow many a pill 

To mastication 1 Where many a course is I 

From stews and steams that round them play, With mushroomed dishes cease to strive ; 

How many a tempting dish would floor us,. Nor for that truffled crime enquire, 

Had nature made no toll to pay, Which nails the hapless goose alive. 

At the Pylorus ! At Strasbugh's fire. 

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80 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OF ENGLAND. 

is best administered is best "; and good cooking, thus understood, as 
the art of improving and of making the most of a thing, is a matter of 
equal importance to both rich and poor. It is a safe rule, I beheve, 
and one recommended on good authority too, if men wanted authority 
on such matter, to eat what they Uke, but not as much of it as they 
like.* Nine-tenths of dyspeptics become so from over-feeding. " Nau- 
seosa aatietas non ew crassis et pravia solum^ sed etiam boni sued 
(dimentia provenit'' Even Paracelsus, though an undoubted quack, 
might give some people a hint, " doaia solafacit ut venerium sit vel non ; 
cibus enim vel potm qtudibet quantitate majore aquo asstfnitus venenum 
fit'* Dyspeptics are wiUing to enlist your sympathies in their behalf by 
telling of the delicacy of their mucous membrane, just as young Countesses 
descant with more success on the extreme susceptibility of their nerves ; 
nor is it always kindly received, if a weU-wisher should remind them, 
that their suflTerings may not after all have been the fault either of 
their stomach or of the dish, which they blame, but of their own indis- 
creet use of both. Whilst it is an acknowledged fact on all hands that 
infants are overfed, and that all children overfeed, men are by no means 
so prone or wiUing to admit that gluttony is, perhaps, the very last of 
childish things that they are in the habit of putting away from them. 
Thus, then, though funguses are not to be considered unwholesome, 
they are, like other good things, to be eaten with discretion and not 
" a discretion. '' " K you live an indolent life, are a Sybarite in your heart ; 
or should some violent passions (choler, jealousy, or revenge) be dealing 
with you, take care in such a case how you eat ragouts of truffles, or of 



* Heberden wisely left it to his patients, except in acute cases of disease, or when they 
were gluttons, " to eat what pleased them, finding that many apparently unfit substances," 
(ichick funffttaes are not) " agreed with the stomach merely because they were suitable 
to its feelings." Why quote Abemethy, but that good sense, backed by personal experience 
in such matters, are always worth quoting, who says " nothing hurts me that I eat with 
appetite and delight " ; or Withers, unless for a like reason, who is " of opinion that the 
instinct of the palate, not misguided by preconceived opinion, may be satisfied, not only 
with impunity, but even with advantage." 'Tis the rule by which the brute creation 
is taught to shun its poison, and to choose its food : to a considerable extent, it should be 
ours also. 



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AN ARTICLE OF DIET. 31 

mushrooms ; but if, on the contrary, your health be good, your life tem- 
perately pradent, your temper even, and your mind serene, then (provided 
you like them) you may eat of these luxuries without the slightest appre- 
hension of their disagreeing with you ". He adds, and vnth truth, " it 
is the wine surcharged with alcohol, of which men drink largely in 
order, as they say, to relish and digest their mushrooms, and made 
dishes, that disagree with the stomach, and that will, ere long, produce 
those visceral obstructions, and those nephritic ailments at once so 
grievous to bear, and so difficult to get rid of.*" If the reader shall 
retain one word of the following homely lines, and that word the last, so 
as to remember it in place, he vnll owe us no fee, and it vnJl save him 
many a bitter draught : — 

Lies the last meal all undigested still. 

Does chyle impure your poisoned lacteals fill? 

Does GJastrodynia's tiny gimlet bore. 

Where the crude load obstructs the rigid door ? 

Or does the firy heart-burn flay your throat. 

Do darkling specks before your eyeballs float? 

Do fancied sounds invade your startlM ear. 

Does the stopt heart oft wake to pulseless fear? 

Your days all listless, and your nights all dream. 

Of Pustule, Ecchymose, and Emphyseme; 

Till ruthless surgeon shall your paunch explore. 

And mark each spot with mischief mottled o^er; 

Does all you sufler quite surpass belief. 

Has oft tried soda ceased to give rdief ? 

Has bismuth fafled, nor tonics eased your pain. 

Have Chambers, Watson, both been teased in vain? 

In case so cross— what cure? — ^but one : Re/rain ! 

But the objection against funguses is generally of another kind, many 
persons who like good living too well to be afraid of the new introduction 
of a luxury, which is to bring new dyspepsias for them in consequence, 
fear, lest whilst indulging in this " celestial manna '*, this *' pp&fia de&v '\ 
they should meet vdth the fate of the Emperor Claudius, and prefer 

* Roques. Traite sur les Champignons. 



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32 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OF ENGLAND. 

remaining vivi to [the chance of becoming divi before their time. Now 
there is really no just ground for this fear ; the esculent fungus never 
becomes poisonous, nor, conversely, the poisonous variety fit to eat. In 
Claudius' particular case we must remember that Locusta medicated, 
and Agrippina cooked that celebrated dish, in which the mushrooms 
after all were but the vehicle for the poison. As to the general fact, 
though cultivation undoubtedly produces considerable changes in the 
quaUties of this, as in those of other classes of plants, they are never of 
such a kind as to convert that which is esculent in one locality, into a 
dangerous food in another. Ccelum non animum mutat, ov yap toi/ rpmov 
aXKoL Tov Tonrov fiovov fien^XKa^a ^. That the mushroom is not quite so 
wholesome when cultivated, as it is in the meadow f in a state of nature, 
cannot be doubted J ; and that many persons have sufiered both in France 
and England, more or less, gastric disturbance after eating those taken 
from hot-beds, or from dark foul unaerated places, is certain;' that 
mushrooms also in decay, when chemistry has laid hold of their tissues 
and changed their juices, have produced disagreeable sensations in the 
stomach and bowels, is not to be questioned ; finally, that the idiosyn- 
cracy of some persons is opposed to this diet, as that of others is to 
shell-fish, to melons, cucumbers, and the like, must also be ceded ; but 
none of these admissions surely meddle with the question, nor go any 
way towards proving the assumed fact, viz. that a mushroom ever changes 
its nature and becomes poisonous like the toad-stool. § It has been 

* iEscliines. 

t Pratenmbus optima fiingis Natura est. — Hor, 

X Locality has a great effect upon almost all that we eat : our veiy mutton varies in 
different comities; compare the town-bred gutter-fed poultry of London, with that of 
twenty miles around ; fish vary, the tench out of different ponds are different ; fruits vary 
with the soil ; are potatoes everywhere the same ? 

§ Persons have fancied themselves poisoned when they were not; indigestion pro- 
duced by mushrooms is looked upon with fear and suspicion, and if a medical man be 
called in, the stomach-pump used, and relief obtained by its rejection, nothing will persuade 
either patient or practitioner that this has not been a case of poisoning. " Ton have 
saved my life," says the one. " I think you will not be persuaded to eat any more 
mushrooms for some time," says the other : and so they part ; each under the impression 
that he knows more about mushrooms than any body else can tell him. 



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AN ARTICLE OF DIET. 33 

unwarily asserted, that because the people of the north are in the habit 
of employing in their kitchen the AgarieuB mtiscariua^ which is known to 
be poisonous in the south, that this points to some remarkable difference 
in the plant depending on difference of locaUty. It is to be recollected, 
however, that this very same fungus if taken, in sufficient quantity, 
Mdthout the precaution usually adopted of soaking it in vinegar before 
cooking, has produced fatal accidents, of which we read the recitals 
in various mycological works ; and only not more frequently, because 
the plant being generally well steeped in brine or acetic acid, is in most 
cases robbed of deleterious principles, the only residue left being pure 
fungine, which is equally innoxious, and the same in all funguses what- 
ever. It is, moreover, worthy of remark, that though the common 
mushroom {Jg, campeatria) varies considerably, both as to flavour and 
wholesomeness (circumstances attributable in part to the varieties of 
soil in which it flourishes*); other funguses, on the contrary, being 
mostly restricted for their alimentation and re-production to some one 
particular habitat, do not present such differences. The Boletus edtdis, 
the Fistulina hepatica, the Agaricus oreades, the Jg. procerus, the Jg. 
prumdus, the Ag.fusipes, the CanthareUus cibarius, &c., are in flavour, 
and other sensible quaUties, just the same in England as they are in 
France, Switzerland, or Italy. Thus the objection, to eat funguses on 
the ground of their presenting differences depending on those of the 
locality where they grow, applies principally, if it apply at all, to the 
English mushroom, of which no house-keeper is afraid, and by no means 
to those species, the introduction of which into our markets and kitchens 
forms the main object of this treatise. 

Besides the foregoing objections to funguses on the general ground of 
their supposed indigestibiUty, or else the more particular one of their 
not being at all times, and in all places the same, a further and weightier 
one, as it is commonly urged, is the alleged impossibility of our being 
able to discriminate with certainty, the good from the bad ; an objection 
which derives much of its supposed weight from the apparently clashing 

* It grows not only throughout Europe, but in India also. 
F 



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84 ESCULENT PUNGUSES OF ENGLAND. 

testimonies of authors respecting the same species, who not mifrequently 
describe, mider a common name, a fungus which some of them assert to 
be esculent, some doubtftd, and others, altogether poisonous in its quali- 
ties. Such discrepancies, however, have aheady in many cases been 
satisfactorily adjusted, whilst a more minute attention and corresponding 
improvement in the pictorial representation of species is daily diminishing 
the errors of the older mycologists. 

Admitting then, what there is no gainsaying, the existence of many 
dangerous individuals in this family,* ought we not in a matter of such 
importance rather to apply ourselves to the task of discriminating them 
accurately,! than permit idle rumours of its impracticability, or even 
its real difficulty to dehort us from the imdertaking? Assuredly nature, 
who has given to brutes an instinct, by which to select their aliment, 
has not left man without a discriminative power to do the same, with 
equal certainty ; nor does he use his privileges to their fuU, or employ 
his senses as he might, when he suffers himself to be surpassed by brute 
. animals, in their diagnosis of food. 

Modes of disfinffuisAinff. 

The first thing to know about funguses, is, that in the immense majority 
of cases^ they are harmless ; the innoxious and esculent kinds are the 
rtde^ the poisonous the exceptions to it ; in a general way, it is more 
easy to say what we should not eat, than what we may ; we should never 
eat any that smell sickly or poisonous. Opinions respecting the agreeable- 
ness or disagreeableness of an odour, as of a taste, may differ ; thus, in 
France and Italy (where the palate seems to us to bribe the judgment 
of the nose), it is usual to speak of that of the Ag.prunvlus as " perfuming 

* We should apply the same rules of discrimination here as elsewhere ; have we not 
picked potatoes for our table out of the deadly family of Solana? selected with care the 
garden from the fool'8 parsley P and do we not pickle gherkins, notwithstanding their 
affinity to the JElaterium momordicum, which would poison us if we were to eat it? 

t N'est il pas bien plus simple et bien plus s^ir en meme temps, puisqu* on le peui, 
de prevenir les maux, que de specider sur les moyens si souvent incertains de les guerir ? — 
Bull.Pl.yenen. p. 11. 



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MODES OF DISTINGUISHING. 35 

the air*/' but though the strong peculiar smell exhaled by this and 
some other esculent funguses, be anything but a perfume, as we appre- 
hend the term, it is very different from that intolerable foetor, that 
nauseous over-whelming odour given out by the Phallus impudicus, the 
Clathrus canceUatua, the Amanita vema, and its varieties. There are 
some, indeed, which, yielding no smell, will poison notwithstanding ; but 
then there are none to lure us into a false security, by a deceitful fragrance. 
The same negative indications are furnished by the palate as by the 
nose; those that are bitter, or styptic, or that bum the fauces on 
mastication, or that parch the throat when they have been swallowed, 
should be put aside ; those that yield spiced milk, of whatever colour, 
should be held, notwithstanding exceptions, in suspicion, as an unsafe 
dairy to deal with. The " Lucchese Goat '* {Aff. piperatm), and the " Cow 
of the Vosges " {Ay. lactifluus aureus)^ though in high request in their re- 
spective localities, and really delicate themselves, are akin to others whose 
milks, though they may have the colour of gold, have the qualities of 



Nescios aar» 



Fallads, 

Qui nunc te firuitur credulus aurea ! '* 

Paulet was once so indiscreet as to eat a slice of the Griper {Ay. tormi- 
no8U8\ which belongs to this genus, and afterwards still more indiscreet 
in giving it the inviting name of '' Mouton zone''; it is well, however, 
that the reader should be apprized, as he will frequently come across 
this '^ Mouton '^ in his walks, that it is a perfect wolf in sheep's clothing, 
nor less to be avoided than one nearly allied to it, which rejoices in the 
name of Necator^ or the Slayer, f Here, as it is a safe rule, rather to 
condenm many that may be innocent, than to admit one that is at all 

* Vide Yittadini and Eoques. 

t Boques fell in with two soldiers at St. Cyr who had gathered, and were in the act of 
canying off twice the quantity of this fungus necessaiy to loll the regiment, when he 
interfered, and no doubt saved many lives in doing so. The soldiers, it appears, had 
mistaken the Ag, necaior, for the Hydnum repandum^ to which it bears some slight resem- 
blance in colour : and in nothing else. 

2r 



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36 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OP ENGLAND. 

suspicious to our confidence, we should, till intimacy has made us familiar 
with the exceptions, avoid all those the flesh of which is livid, or that, 
Chameleon-like, assume a variety of hues on being broken or bruised.* 
The external colour furnishes no certain information, with the single 
exception of that of the giUs in one or two Agarics, by which to know 
the good from the bad ; thus the Boule de neige, and the Vernal amanite, 
are both white, but the dress, in one case, is of innocence, in the other 
of mere hypocrisy; again, the green, which we are so cautioned to 
U avoid in this class of plants as cholorotic and unhealthy, and which is of 
such bad augury in Amanita viridis, is quite the contrary in the Verdette 
{A. virescens). So that to be led only by colour would certainly be to be 
misled, a mistake which, in the family of the Btissula, might readily 
compromise life. 

Some mycologists reconmiend, with certain exceptions, the avoidance 
of such Agarics as have lateral stalks, of such as are pectinate (i. e. have 
equal gills like a comb), of such as have little flesh in proportion to the 
depth of their gills, and generally of all those that are past their prime. 
Some warn us not to eat after the snail, as we are in the habit of doing 
in our gardens after the wasp ; we may trust it seems to him to point 
out the best greengages, but not to the slug to select our mushrooms 
for us. Finally, it has been very currently aflSrmed, though I think 
without sufficient warrant, that all such funguses as run rapidly into 
deUquescence ought to be avoided as dangerous. Here while it might 
be unsafe to lay down any positive rule beyond one's own experience, this, 
so far as it goes, would rather lead me to a different inference ; and even 
the reader will ask, " Does not the mushroom deUquesce, and is not ket- 
chup, that poiffuant Hqturr made from boiled mushrooms mixed with salt \ 
to which we are ^ so partial, this very deUquescence ? " but, besides 

* The converse of tins remark by no means holds true ; the Amanita vema, the Am. 
Phallcides, the Aff. eemifflobatus, DryophUua, and mmcariuSy though amongst the most 
deadly of this class of plants, do not change colour on being cut ; the Aesh of the first two 
is moreover of a tempting whiteness, like that of the common puff-ball, than which there 
is not a safer or a better fungus. " Ommno ne crede colori '\ is our only safe motto here. 

t Johnson's Diet. 



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MODES OF DISTINGUISHING. 37 

this, the Jg. vomatus, which is highly deliquescent, is largely eaten 
about Lucca> the Ag. atramentariua also is, on our own authority, peri- 
ado ventria nostril as good for ketchup as for that purpose to which 
its juices are more commonly put, viz. — ^for making ink ; thus amongst 
deliquescent Agarics, there are some the juices of which are both safe 
and savoury, perhaps of more than those here recorded, but as I have 
not hitherto myself made trial of any others, and as there are some 
dangerous species mixed up with this group, the public cannot be too 
much cautioned against making any rash experiment, where the conse- 
quences of a mistake might be so serious. 

Some trees give origin by preference to good, others to deleterious 
species; thus, the hazel-nut, the black and perhaps the white poplar, 
together with the fig-tree, grow only good sorts ; whereas the olive has 
been famous since the days of Nicander for none but poisonous species. 

The rank in smeU, and those of livid show. 
All that at roots of Oak * or OUve grow. 
Touch not ! But those upon the fig-tree^s rind 
Securely pluck — a safe and savory kind ! 

The elm, the alder, the larch, the beech, and some other trees, seem 
capable of supporting both good and bad species at their roots, hence it 
is not safe to trust implicitly to the tree to determine the wholesomeness 
or unwholesomeness of the fungus that grows out of it, or in its neigh- 
bourhood. The presence of d^free acid is by no means conclusive either 
way, there being many species of both good and bad which will indiffer- 
ently turn litmus paper red. The old and very general practice adopted 
by cooks of dressing funics mth a silver spoon, (which is supposed to 
become tarnished, then, only when their juices are of a deleterious quality,) 
is an error which cannot be too generally known and exposed, as many 
lives, especially on the continent, have been and still are sacrificed to it 
annually. In some cases, the kitchen fire will extract the deleterious 
property from funguses, which it would have been unsafe to eat raw — 

* He was wrong here 1 tbe oak produces both the Fktulina hepatica, and the Jgaricua 
fiuipsBy two excellent funguses, particularly the last, which, properly dressed or pickled, has 
not many rivals. 



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38 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OP ENGLAND. 

and frequently the acri(jl lactescent kinds change their nature entirely 
and become mild by cooking ; in other cases, the virus is drawn 
out by saturating the fungus, sometime before dressing it, either in 
vinegar or brine*, the liquid then containing the poison which was 
originally in the plant ; but in other species, as in Ag. emeticu8, it would 
seem fix)m the experiments of M. Erapf of Vienna, upon living animals, 
that it is to be extracted neither by ebullition nor desiccation.f 

The effects produced by the poison of mushrooms are exceedingly 
various, that is to say, the virus itself differs in different species, both 
as to kind and, where that is the same, as to the decree of its con- 
centration; it is generally, however, of the class called acro-narcotic, 
producing inflammatory affections of the intestines, and exerting a dele- 
terious influence over the whole nervous system. In cases where only 
a very small quantity has been taken experimentally, a constriction of 
the fauces has followed, and continued for a period vaiying from some 
minutes to several hours, occasioning, or not, nausea, heat, and, in some 
instances, even pain of the stomach ; " sometimes the affection is entirely 
confined to the head, and a stupor or light delirium succeeds the 
eating of some species, and continues for two or three days**}. Not 
unfrequently, as in those cases cited by Larber, the symptoms have 
been altogether those of cholera, without any cerebral disturbance what- 
ever ; but in other instances that have come to my knowledge, during 
a several years residence on the continent, these have been of a mixed 
character 1, in which both the head and viscera have participated, and 

* As was known to the Greeks, "Prepare your ftinguses with vinegar, salt, or honey, 
for thus you will rob them of their poison : — Hvni yap avr&p r6 nyiyiwdts affuupiirau" 

t Yittadini, however, ate largely of this fungus, which he describes as very disagreeable 
though it did not prove poisonous to him. 

X Pucdnelli. 

II In a whole family cut off in the year 1848, at Lucca, by dining on some poisonous 
Boletuses, drawn and first described by Professor Puccinelli under the ominous name of 
Boletus terriHlis, besides most extensive ulceration of the mucous coat of the intestines 
throughout a very considerable portion of their extent, together with injection of the 
vessels of the brain, the lungs were found congested and the cavities of the heart distended 
with coagula of blood. 



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MODES OF DISTINGUISHING. 39 

the autopsies after death have in accordance with the symptoms, shown 
the stomach and intestines more or less disorganized with the products 
of inflammation, together with a congested state of the brain or of its 
investments, or of a local or a general softening of its substance.* The 

* For a most interesting record of all the more recent poisonings from Funguses in Italy, 
the reader may consult Professor delle Chiaje's work on Toxicology. The following, the 
only one I shall give, is to be found in Yittadini's excellent work on Funguses. 

'' Giovanna Ballerini, montanara, d'anni 26, moglie di Luigi Dodici, naidva di BrugneUo, 
Stato Sardo, e domidliata in Lardirago, Distretto di Belgiojoso, Provinda di Pavia, mangi5 
la sera del 19 maggio, 1831, in oompagnia di due suoi nipoti Giuseppe Ballerini d'anni 
6, e Maria d^anni 12, bnona copia d'agarid di primavera, cotti nella minestra. Erana dessi 
stati colti vel yidn bosco della Eossa, e da quella sventurata probabilmente scambiati coi 
Prugnuoli (u^y. maueeron, BulL) funghi generalmente oonossciuti da quegli alpigiani sotto 
il nome di Spinaroli o Maggenghi. All' indomani allontanossi Giovanna da casa, coma era 
suo costume, onde provredere, ai propij bisogni, ma trascorse alcune ore yenne assalita da 
forte oppressione alt' epigastric, da nausee, da conati di yomito, ec. e costretta infine yerso 
il meriggio dalla gravezza del patire a tomarsene a casa, ove trovo dallo stesso male tormen- 
tati anche i nipoti. I prindpaH fenomeni morbosi che presentavano quegli infelid all' 
arrivo di Giovanna erano : nausee continue, dolori acutissimi alio stomaco ed alle intestina, 
deUqig frequenti, convulsioni, ec. Poco dopo Maria ed in s^uito Giovanna vennero prese 
da yomito ostinato di materie bigio-nerastre, a cui s'accoppiava bentosto per oolmo di 
sventura, un' abbondante soccorrenza della stessa materia, e piu innanzi di pretto sangue. 
Impotente a recere Giuseppe si struggeva in vani conati di vomito. Chiamato verso sera in 
loro soccorso il Sig. dott Luigi Casorati, medico condotto del luogo, mio ooUega ed amico, 
s'adoperb ma invano per sostare il vomito ed il coldra, che spedahnente in Marie ed in 
Giovanna andavano semprc piu imperversando. Le bevande mucilaginose, il latte, gli 
oppiati, le fomentazioni ammolienti suU'addome a nuUa giovarono. Si tento la sanguigna, 
ma anche questa senza effetto. Alle ore 7 del mattino del giomo 21, 88 ore drca dall' inges- 
tione del fungo, GKuseppe, che d era ostinatamente rifiutato ad ogni medidna, non era 
piu ; ne miglior sorte incontravano Maria e Giovanna, che tradotte all'ospedale di Pavia, non 
ostante i soccord che vennero loro prodigati, perivano nella stessa giomata fra le piu terri- 
bili angosce, e senza perdere gran fatto Tuso dei sensi, la prima verso il merrigio, Taltra 
verso le ore sette pomeridiane. All' autopsia del cadavere di Giuseppe Ballerini, esegui- 
tad in Lardirago, sotto i miei occhi, dallo stesso Dottor Casorati che gentilemente me ne 
fece invito, ed alia quale assisteva pure il Sig. Do. G. Galliotti, si trovo lo stomaco zeppo 
di un liquido verdastro, entro cui nuotavano ancora, unitamente a buona porzione di riso e 
di erbe, vaij pezzetti del fungo non anoora decomposti, e che potd agevolmente riconoscere 
a qual parte della pianta appartenessero ; la mucosa di quel viscere sendbilmente injettata, 
e coperta, spedalmente lungo la piccola curvatura ed in vicinanza del piloro, di grandi 
macchie di color roseo-livido intenso. Le intestina tenui pur esse ove piu ove meno in- 
jettate, e del color dello scarlatto, le crasse morbosamente ristrette, ma meno delle tenui 
ingorgate ; d le \me che le altre vuote d'alimenti, e non oontenenti che poca quantita di 
muco bigio-nerastro, e qualche lombrico. Le meningi erano anch' esse sommamente in- 
jettate, spedalmente la pia ; la sostanza del cervello meno condstente dd naturale, pun- 
teggiata di rosso, e la base dello stesso nuotante in una quantitik considerabile di dero 
sanguinolento." — FiH. p. 340. 



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40 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OP ENGLAND. 

The poison, as has been said, exists in very different degrees of intensity 
in different species. In some, as the Amanita vema, a few grains of the 
fresh fungus suffice to kill a dog*, while the Muscarius, though equally 
fatal in sufficient quantities, is not nearly so strong. Some time in 
general elapses from the swallowing the poison to that in which its dele- 
terious workings first begin to be felt ; I have heard of cases (similar 
to those cited in the last note) of persons who had supped overnight on 
the meal that was to prove their last, who have slept, risen next morning, 
gone to work, and continued working for hours before they have been 
made aware of their condition. When, however, the symptoms have 
once set in, they become rapidly more and more alarming, while the 
chances of arresting or mitigating their excruciating severity lessen every 
minute. As the evils to be apprehended from the agency of these plants 
can only be prevented by their instant evacuation, to assist the disposi- 
tion to vomit, or, if called in early enough, to anticipate it by the milder 
emetics in sufficient doses (surely not by strong ones as some have re- 
commended!) and, when the stomach has been thoroughly evacuated, 
to reUeve the violence of the pain by bland mucilaginous drinks, with 
opiates, are the indications plainly pointed out and the means by which 
inflammation and subsequent sphacelus of the gut, as well as the dele- 
terious effects produced on the nervous system by the absorption of the 
poison into it, have been occasionally averted ; but should symptoms of 
great depression be abeady present (as too frequently happens before 
the medical man arrives) he will endeavour in that case to rally the vital 
powers, (scanty though the chances of success will then be,) by small 
and repeated doses of sulphuric aether and ammonia combined; or 
should head symptoms require bis interference, he must in that case 
bleed. 

* When dried, gr. xx.-xxv. will scarcely produce the effects of gr. v, of the fungus when 
first gathered. Vitt. 



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CONDITIONS OF GROWTH. 41 



Conditions necessary to their growth. 

Of these in fact we know but little, and in the great majority of in- 
stances, absolutely nothing; in a few cases, moisture* and heat seem 
alone sufficient, even in our own hands, to cause some of them to grow ; 
in others electricity appears indispensable. A wet autumn is generally 
found to be exceedingly prolific in these plants, with the following 
notable difference as to kind: all those that are parasitical on trees show 
themselves, during a wet season, in amount directly varying with that of 
the previous rain, irrespective of any other influences conspiring to give 
this effect ; whilst those, on the other hand, which issue from the earth, 
when the surface of this has been long chilled, or when the electrical 
state of the air has not been materially modified for some time, will be 
found to come up sparingly or not at all, whatever ram may have fallen. 
An exception to this rule occurs in the common mushroom, which, by 
the combination of certain degrees of heat and moisture, may be reared 
throughout the year without the co-operation of electricity. A variety 
of plans have been recommended for this purpose, many of which are 
both troublesome and expensive ; the following, taken by Mons. Roques, 
from a scientific work on gardening, and said to be infallible, has, if so, 
the great advantage of extreme simplicity to recommend it. " Having 
observed that all those dunghills which abounded chiefly in sheep or 
cow-droppings, began shortly to turn mouldy on their surface, and 

* The total quantity of moisture absorbed by funguses, during developement and growth 
is great; thus, if a number of small Agarics, still in their wrappers, be placed in wine- 
glasses half filled with water, this will be rapidly absorbed, even before they break through 
their membrane. Moreover, if Agarics or Boletuses, already developed, be placed in 
glasses containing so many oimces of water, the amount of which has been previously 
ascertained, and equal to that in another glass, by which to make allowance for what has 
been lost by evaporation, the result will generally be that a quantity of water, equal to 
from one fourth to one third of the full weight of each fungus, will have been absorbed 
and exhaled again in two days. The redundant moisture of these plants is rendered 
conspicuous if we place a Boletus on a watch-glass, the surface of which is speedily beaded 
with drops of water, as if it had been in the rain j while the quantity of fluid is sometimes 
so great as to defeat the object we had in placing it there, viz., that of collecting the 
spores. 



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42 - ESCULENT FUNGUSES OF ENGLAND. 

to bear mushrooms, I collected a quantity of this manure, which, so soon 
as it began to turn white, I strewed lightly over some melon beds, 
and some spring crops of vegetables, and obtained in either case, and as 
often as I repeated the experiment, a ready supply of excellent mush- 
rooms, which came up from a month to six weeks after the dung had 
been so disposed of; but as an equable temperature is in aH cases desi- 
rable to render the result certain, where this cannot be secured under 
the protection of glass, the next best plan is to scatter a portion of the 
above dungs mixed with a little earth in a cave or cellar, to which some 
tan is an excellent addition; for tan, though it kills other vegetable 
growths, has quite an opposite effect on funguses." 

Next to the common mushroom, in regard to the success attending its 
cultivation, comes that of the Pietra funghaia^ a plant unknown to 
Clusius, but described by Matthiolus and Imperato, under the name of 
the ' stoney fungus.' Cesalpinus has added to their accounts, directions 
for jMPocuring it the whole year through, which, he says, is to be done 
either by irrigating the soil over the site of the stone, or by transferring 
the Fietra fanghaia with a portion of the original mould, and watering 
it in our own garden. Porta adds that the funguses take seven days 
to come to perfection, and may be gathered from the naked block, 
(where this has been properly moistened) six times a year ; but in pre- 
ference to merely watering the blocks, he recommends that a light 
covering of garden mould should be first thrown over them. The 
Pietra fanghaia^ though its range of territory be extremely small, lies 
embedded in a variety of soils, in consequence of which its polyporus, 
like our own mushroom, is very various in flavour, depending on the 
kind of hurrma in which its matrix happens to be placed. Those that 
grow on the high grounds above Sorrento, and on the sides of Vesuvius, 
are in less esteem than such as are brought into the Naples market 
from the mountains of Apulia.* 

* The reader desirous of a detailed aocoimt of this interesting fungus, should consult 
a small quarto brochure published some years ago by Professor Gasparini, of Naples, who 
was preparing a second edition in the Autiunn of 1844, with numerous additions, which 
has no doubt been reprinted* 



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CONDITIONS OP GROWTH. 43 

A third fungus which we have the means of producing ad libitum^ is 
that which sprouts from the pollard head of the black poplar *; these 
heads it is usual to remove at the latter end of Autumn^ as soon as the 
vintage is over, and their marriage with the vine is annulled ; hundreds 
of such heads are then cut and transported to different parts ; they are 
abundantly watered during the first month, and in a short time produce 
that truly delicious fungus Agaricua caudicinu8, the Pioppini, which, 
during the Autumn of the year make the greatest show in many of the 
Italian market-places. These pollard blocks continue to bear, for from 
twelve to fourteen years ; I saw a row of them in the botanical garden 
at Naples, which, after this period were still productive, though less 
frequently, and of fewer Agarics at a crop. The practice of rearing 
funguses from the poplar is not modem ; Dioscorides knew, for he tells 
us that if we " bark the white or black poplar, cutting the bark into 
pieces, and covering it with horse-dung, an excellent kind of fungus will 
spring up, and continue to bear throughout the year." By way of com- 
ment to which passage, Mathiolus adds, that a little leaven f will produce 
an abundant crop in four days. Another fungus, which I have myself 
reared {Polyporm aveUamis)^ is to be procured by singeing over a handful 
of straw a block of the cob-nut tree, which is then to be watered and 
put by. In about a month the funguses make their appearance, which 
are quite white, of from two to three inches in diameter, and excellent to 
eat ; while their profusion is sometimes so great as entirely to hide the 
wood from which they spring.} Dr. Thore says that in the Landes, the 
Boletus edtdis, and Ag, procerus, are constantly raised by the inhabitants 
of that district, from a watery infusion of the said plants ; that something 

* Or rather, as Professor Tenore has told me, from the Fopulua ni^ra, var. NeapolUana, 
t MuUer declares that fermentation is itself a fungus, which continues to feed and mul- 
tiply so long as it finds the elements of nutrition in the liquid in which it orginates. 
Iliis then is employing one fungus life to evoke another. 

t All blocks of this nut-wood do not bear. Professor Sanguinetti informs me that 
the peasants in the Abruzzi, who bring in these logs, know perfectly which will succeed, 
and which will not ; " a knowledge," he adds, " to which closest attention during all the 
years that I have been employed by the Papal government, as superintendent of the fungus 
market, has not yet enabled me to attain." 

g2 



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44 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OF ENGLAND. 

more than this, however, is necessary, seems certain, since during the 
two or three years which I frequented the baths of Lucca, and was in 
the habit of using infusions of these and of a variety of other funguses, 
often throwing them over the very spots where each kmd grew, my experi- 
ments never succeeded. Nor was Dr. Puccinelli, of Lucca, who repeated 
similar experiments in the botanical garden there, much more success- 
ful. Briganti, of Naples, told me much the same story ; and Sanguinetti, 
at Rome, was equally unsuccessful with Ottaviani at Urbino. On making 
enquiry of friends in England, who have attempted to propagate different 
kinds of funguses, either by infrision, or otherwise, their attempts have 
generally failed. My friend Mrs. Hussey, in particular, who is about to 
publish a beautifully illustrated work on the funguses of Great Britain, 
acquaints me, that she has been in the habit of subjecting many of the 
plants brought in for her to draw, to a like experiment, and with similar 
want of result. Lastly, as concerning Truffles, Mr. Bomholtz has given 
directions how to rear them, which, as they are exceedingly expensive, and 
troublesome, must needs be infaUible to secure proselytes, even among the 
most sworn amateurs of these delicacies. *' Prepare your ground," says 
he, " with oak leaves in decay ; you must also mix some iron with it, and 
take care to make it of a proper consistence, either by adding sand, 
should it be too compact, or clay, should it be of too light a nature ; 
having then with great care transplanted your truffles, (which must be 
properly packed with a quantity of the original mould about them,) they 
are to be placed tenderly in the new settlement, covered over lightly, 
with mould, and this again is to be covered with boughs of oak and 
Carpinus detulus, to protect the deposit from molestation ; neither must 
you consider your work completed till a sacred grove of these particular 
trees has been planted round it, which must be done with such precaution 
that while they keep the precious ground in a perpetual twilight, they 
must not obstruct it too much, but leave a certain free passage to the 
air. After which injunctions, if they be carefully attended to, Mr. B. 
assures us that we can reckon, without fear of disappointment, on a 
dish of truffles, whenever we may want them for ourselves or our friends. 



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FAIRY RINGS. 45 



Fairy Rings. 



We know as little of the origin of Fairy-rings, as of any other pheno* 
menon connected with the growth of funguses. These faity-rings are 
of all sizes, from one-and-a-half to thirty feet in diameter; the grass 
composing them, is observed in spring, to be of a thicker growth than 
the surrounding herbage, and in consequence of the manure afforded 
by the crop of last year, is of a darker colour. Within these rings are 
frequently seen certain varieties of this class of plants, veiy generally 
Agarics, though Puff-balls frequently, and occasionally the Boletus suhto- 
mentosus affect a similar mode of growth. Of the Agarics which appear 
in these circles, some of the principal are Jg. oreades, Ag. prumdusy 
Ag. orceUa, Ag, Georgiiy Ag.personatuSy and Ag. campestris. As all these 
feed at the expense of the grass, (by exhausting the ground that would 
otherwise have furnished it with the necessary supplies,) the richest 
vegetation in the field is generally the first to become seared. These 
rings (giving birth to some one species which, dying, is not unfr^quently 
succeeded by imother a little later, and this, perhaps, by a third, in the 
same order of occurrence) continue to enlarge their boundaries for a 
long, but indefinite period. 

It seems not easy to determine precisely, to the operation of what 
cause or causes the increase in the size of these circles from year to year 
should be attributed. Is it the projectile force with which the spores 
are disseminated aU round, that has carried them so uniformly beyond 
the margin of the last ring, as to form a concentric circle for the next 
of larger diameter beyond ; or is the cause to be sought underground, in 
the general spread of the spawn of last year in aU directions outwards, 
but only fertile in a concentric ring beyond the site of the last crop, 
which had already exhausted the ground, and so rendered it incapable of 
supporting any new vegetable life ? or do both these causes conspire in 
this result? The quantity of spavni, and of the spores necessarily con- 
tained in it, and the depth to which they penetrate under the surface of 



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46 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OP ENGLAND. 

the soil, renders the possibility of their spreading in the latter way easily 
conceivable.* 

On the devdopement offangmes. 

" Ins Innre der Natur dringt kein ershaffiier Gteist 
Zu gliicklich Wem Sie nur die ausare Schale losst." — HaUer. 

It would be an insult to the reader's understanding, and a most idle 
waste of his time to attempt to confute such self-destroying dogmas 
as those of " spontaneous/' or of " equivocal generation/' which last is 
only a clumsy equivoque expressive of the same thing ; we might just 
as well talk of the pendulum of a clock generating the time and space 
in which it librated, as of dead matter spontaneously quickening and 
actuating those new movements of which some of its particles have 
become the seat; for how, in the name of common sense, can that 
which we assume to be dead, i. e., emphatically and totally without life, 
convey such purely vital phenomena as those of intus-susception and 
growth^ which by the very supposition, are no longer within itself. life, 
on such an hypothesis as this, ceases to be the opposite and antagonist 
Principle to death, of which it then becomes but a different mode and 
a new phasis. It is not the incomprehensibiUty of such a notion (be 
it well understood) against which the objection lies, for as life begins 
and ends in mystery, that would be no objection ; it lies in the rashness 
of attempting to solve an admitted mystery^ by placing a palpable 
absurdity in its room; vainly and irreverently arrogating to itself the 
honours of a discovery, which we are to beheve if we can 1 At this 
rate, addled eggs» abandoned by the vital Principle, might take to 
hatching themselves! A more legitimate, and very interesting subject 
for enquiry, is, whether those funguses which are parasitical, (i. e., 
derive their support from the structures whence they emanate,) are so 

* On digging up the earth in the neighbourhood of a ring in which A.prunuluB was at 
the time growing, I found the mould, to the depth of a foot and more, hoary, with an 
arachnoid spawn, strongly charged with the odour of this mushroom. Persoon found that 
to destroy a fairy-ring of the same Agaric, it was necessary to dig to a considerable depth, 
when the next crop that came up was disseminated sporadically over the ground* 



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DEVELOPEMENT. 47 

many separate constituents of a superior life under analysis ; or each^ of 
itself, a new individual ? In support of the first view it is urged, that 
since reproduction in such lower existences, is nothing but a modification 
of nutrition, a new process might well originate from its perversion and 
thus give rise to new products ; and just as the change in the ordinary 
nutrition of our bodily organs, is prone to give birth to various local 
disoi^anizations, or morbid growths; such, it is argued, might it be 
the origin of fungoid growths on trees. But then comes the difficulty : 
such a view does not, and plainly cannot, explain, the developement of 
the not parasitical kinds, of which the origin should be the same; 
no, nor even of all that live by suction at the expense of other plants, 
since there are as many kinds which quicken in dead and decaying 
structures, as there are that issue out of decrepit and living ones ; here 
then it is plain that perverted nutrition can have nothing to do with 
their production, for in this case nutrition has, by the supposition, ceased ; 
and to talk of disease after death would be a strange figure of speech 
indeed ! An elm or oak is frequently dead five, seldom less than three^ 
years before these parasitical growths make their appearance ; from which 
it would appear to follow that seeds are not developed by, but that they 
must be extraneous to, and independent of, any pathological relation of 
the plant from which they grow. If then fungus life be not to 
be sought for, and cannot with propriety be said to origmate in any 
morbid conditions of the tissues from which they spring, whence do 
they derive life? in other words, whence in every instance comes that 
particular seed which, when quickened, is to produce after its kind? 
Lies this dormant for a season in those dead and decaying tissues, 
which a little later the plant originating from it is destined to em- 
bellish? or is the living germ first brought to them by the winds, and 
merely deposited on their surface, as in a fitting nidus on which their 
future developement is to be efiected ? Some writers take one view, some 
another. Many believe the seeds of funguses to come directly from the 
earth*, and to be drawn up with the sap which as it penetrates through- 

* This was the opinion of the Greeks who call funguses yiTycyetf, or earthbom. 



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48 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OF ENGLAND. 

(mt the tissues of the plants must carry the seeds also along with it j 
that such is actually sometimes the case is certain^ since we can not 
only plant parasitical bUghts of a particular kind, so as to infect particular 
plants, but may also, by digging a trench between those that have abready 
become diseased, and those that are still healthy, stay the progress of the 
blight ; thus clearly establishing, not only the fact of seeds, but also the 
highly interesting additional one, of their ascent into the structures of 
plants by intus-susception ; and to arrive at a general view from these par- 
ticular cases, this would seem to be the usual mode of their propagation ; 
neither does it make against this view, nor is it more in favour of the 
other, which supposes the germs to be derived primarily from the air, 
and to be thence precipitated on the structures where they grow, that 
funguses are found on organizations in decay, on withered boughs, and 
on seared leaves, out of which all sap must of course have been long 
ago exsiccated ; for what then ? though the sap does, the seeds do not 
evaporate, with it ; these, once absorbed md diffused during the life-time 
of the plant throughout its whole economy, remain there, in a state of po- 
tential activity, ready to burst forth md germinate whenever the necessary 
conditions for these wonderful changes shall be presented to them, just 
as though the seeds of com now flourishmg in different parts of England, 
had first existed for some thousand years as mummy wheat, potentially 
and unquickened. Nothing perishes in nature : destructio uniua matrix 
alterius : life may change titles, but never becomes extinct ; so soon as 
the more perfect plant dies, a host of other vegetable existences, hitherto 
enthralled by laws of an organization superior to their own, now that 
the connexion has been dis-severed, put forth their separate energies, 
and severally assert their independence ; the poplar may have perished, 
root, stem, and branch, but its extinction is only the signal for other 
existences, which had been heretofore bound up and hid withinlts own, 
to assert themselves; and accordingly a Polyporus sprouts out here; 
here a Thelephora embellishes the dead bark ; and here an Agaric springs 
out of the decaying fibres of its head ; these in turn also decay, but as 
they moulder away they languish into a new kind of fungous life, of an 



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DEVELOPEMENT 49 

inferior type to the last, as if their own vitaUty were inferior in kind to 
that of the decayed poplar, whence they lately issued.* Thus, smce the 
seeds of funguses actually exist in great quantity in other plants, and 
since they occur in the closed interior of firuits, and in corollas which are 
still in their envelopes, (in either case out of the reach of the external 
air,) since, finally, the Pietra funghaia^ which produces a Polyporus 
unknown to England, may be, notwithstanding, made to germinate in 
England, by furnishing the stone with adequate supplies of water and 
of heat, that seems the more tenable hypothesis of the two, which in 
every case supposes the nidus of the fungus to furnish the seed, and 
the atmosphere the conditions necessary for its quickening. How the 
seed is first made to quicken, is another and most interesting question, 
still involved in mystery. As there is no ocular evidence to be obtained 
of the usual organs of sexf, some mycologists have separated funguses 
from the family of the clandestinely married Cryptogamiay to place 
them with the Agamia^ which repudiate the marriage tie ; but as every 
argument from ignorance, is unsafe, (and such would appear to be parti- 
cularly the case here, when we consider how many things undoubtedly 
exist which the imperfection of lenses, and the circumscribed power of 
the eye, prevent our seeing,) we should rather make use of what is 
displayed to us in the economy of other plants, in the way of analogy 
as appUed to these, than deny what is likely, merely because it is not 
an object of sense. It would appear, then, from what has been stated, 
that certain ftmguses are produced like other plants, fix)m seeds ; and 

* Just as in the inorganic world chemical analysis is frequently the precursor of new 
forms of matter, resulting from the new affinities which take place ; so when a vegetable 
dies, and the synthesis of its structural arrangement is broken up, Nature frequently 
avails herself of this season of decomposition, to bring new individuals out of the decaying 
structures of the old ; which, in consequence of a beautiful pre-arrangement, find there 
all the requisite supplies for their growth and friture maintenance. 

t Some mycologists, however, as Persoon and Boques, conceive that the common dust 
of puff-balls, is analogous to the pollen of the higher plants, while the real seed is to be 
sought and found in a finer dust which is entangled in the reticular meshes at the base 
of these plants ; others suppose the fluid which bathes the interiors of those little organs, 
in which the seeds are packed, to be in other frmguses the soiurce of their fecundation, but 
these at present are mere cQi^ectures. 



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50 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OF ENGLAND. 

more likely, at least in the parasitic kinds, that such seeds are derived 
by the plant which supports them from the ground, than deposited from 
the atmosphere. Before we proceed to the description of species, a few 
more words remain to be said about these spores, and a brief notice to 
be taken of those parts that are essential to all, and more especially of 
such as are characteristic of, those higher forms of funguses which are 
the more immediate subject of the present work. 

Spores or Seeds. 

All funguses have not seeds, at least, seeds apparent to us*, but if we 
reflect that these, even where visible, can do no more than present to our 
senses the visible tabernacle of that Life which is still invisible, and 
which, not being material, must ever elude our search,! then it will not 
appear so difficult to conceive that the apparently seedless threads of some 
particular moulds should include, in their interior, vital germs of some 
sort, which being homogeneous with, or of the same colour as, the 
parenchyma of the mould itself, are invisible ; just as we know them to 
be for a season in Puff-balls, in the veins of Truffles, or in the Agyrium, 
the receptacle of which last breaks up, when ripe, into sporidia, which 
then, and not till then, become manifest. The seeds of funguses are 
called spores: in the great majority of cases the microscope, which 
brings their shapes under observation (for to the naked eye they appear 
as dust), presents them to us as round, oval, oblong, or even angular 
corpuscules ; and, more rarely still, echinulate or with a tail. They are as 
various in size as in shape, the first bearing no proportion whatever to 
the dimensions of the future plant. They vary, too, greatly in colour, 
being sometimes of a pure white, and continuing so throughout the whole 
of their seminal existence ; at other times the white acquires a yellow 
tinge on drying. Some are brown, some yellow, some pink, some purple, 

* Several byssoid growths ai-e in this predicament. 

t " Who seek for life in creatui-es they dissect, 

Will lose it in the moment tliey detect." — Pope, 



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SPORES OR SEEDS. 



51 



some purple-black, and some pass successively from pink to purple, and 
from purple to purple-black.* These seeds, or spores, are sometimes 
naked, but are much more commonly shut up in little pouches, or recep- 
tacles, either of a regular, or of an irregular shape ; the first are called 
theca, the latter ^oranges ; thecae (which are in shape similar to the 
cases of the same name that used to receive the ancient eO^iuna, or 
scrolls,) are small cylindrical bodies, in which the seeds lie, one over the 
other as in a rouleau ; they are themselves let into the receptacle (or 
that part of the fungus the office of which is to receive and support the 
reproductive oi^ans), in a regular and symmetric manner, and at length 
occupy it completely. Not all are prolific ; for some, pressing upon others, 
cause them to abort, leaving wherever tliis happens, sterile thecae, or 
paraphyses, between those that are fertile. Sporangea are little globose or 
turbinated receptacles, frequently furnished with a pedicle, in which the 
seeds lie without order, as they are themselves inserted asymmetrically, or 
without order, into the receptacle. Sometimes these seeds are packed 
in series of fours, as in the fimetary Agarics \ in other genera, as in the 
HelvellcB and Morehy they are stored away in series of eights. The 
spores so soon as they are ripe, either drop out of the sporiferous 
membrane (Jiymeniwni), or, as more frequently happens, are projected 
from it with an elastic jerk, or else, as is the case of Agarics of a deli- 
quescent kind, return to the earth mixed up with the black liquid, into 
which these ultimately resolve themselves. Sometimes the whole external 
surface of the fungus is dusted with seed ; but much more frequently 
they are restricted to some particular part, and either lie on the upper 
side, as in the Pezizce, or on that which is beneath, as in the mush- 
room. The spores generally lie on the outside of the fungus, but 
in the puff-ball, as every one knows, they are internal, and in such 
prodigious quantity as sometimes entirely to fill its cavity. It is a specu- 
lation from Germany, that spores are capable of altering their forms, 
and that according to the accidents of climate or soil they assume this or 

* The colours of the spores are of considerable practical use in distinguishing the mem- 
bers of the large family of Agarics, some of which are determined by them. 

h2 



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52 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OF ENGLAND. 

that type, and give rise at dijBTerent times, to different kinds of funguses ; 
on which it is sufficient to remark, that while there is not the least 
foundation for such an hypothesis, there is in fact much evidence against 
it ; nature acts by inunutable laws and has no changeUngs. To appeal 
to experience, when did mushrooms ever spawn toad-stools? when 
was the Pietra fimghaia ever seen to bring forth anything but its 
own Polyporm^ or the Kg, the Poplar, or the Hazel (when singed and 
watered to render them prolific), exhibit any but their own particular 
mushroom ? Spores are endowed, like other seeds, with an extraordinary 
vitality, which may lie dormant in them for an indefinite period, but 
unlike most other seeds, they seem capable of resisting the prolonged heat 
of boiling water, infused in which, and poured upon the ground, they 
are still capable of producing each after its kind. The specific gravity of 
spores is greater than that of water, as may be seen by placing a mush- 
room over a glass which contains it, when, falling upon the surface, they 
presently subside to the bottom. These spores sometimes merely mul- 
tiply without any further progress in developement ; sometimes they 
proceed a certain way only, and then the conditions necessary for their 
further advance faiUng, this is arrested ; sometimes, as in the Sistrotrema^ 
the plant appears twice under a perfect form ; being for part of its 
existence a Hydnum ; and during the other half, a Boletm \ but, generally 
speaking, these minute corpuscular bodies are destined to receive an 
infinite variety of Protean and imperfect forms, and to pass, stage by 
stage, and step by step, to the fuU attainment of that ultimate one which 
they assume when their growth has reached its natural limits. Some- 
times the spore expands outright into a Puff-ball ; sometimes it shoots 
up straight into a club, as in some of the Clavarias ; or lies like a bowl, 
resupinate on the ground and stalkless, as in the Pesdza i in other cases 
it assumes the more perfect, but much less simple forms of ChantareUe^ 
Boletus, Badalea, Morel, or Mushroom. 



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D£V£LOP£M£NT OF SEBDS. 58 

Developement of Seeds. 

The mode in which the oi^ans immediately containiDg the seeds are 
formed differs according to the family. In the tribe of puff-balls, where 
the seed is formed in the interior of the fungus, there is no hymenium ; a 
few of the internal cells, (when the Lycoperdon has attained its full size,) 
begin to enlarge, and these in a short time are found to contain small 
granules, generally of a determinate number, and moistened by a fluid 
secreted from within the walls. In such funguses as have a hymenium 
it is only some of the superficial cells, and these in a particular position 
in reference to the receptacle, that contain seeds ; though perfect iden- 
tity of structure throughout, is evinced in a conclusive manner if we 
invert the head of a young fungus on its stalk ; for then these thecse begin 
to form and to fill themselves with seed, not on the side where they were 
about to do so previous to this inversion of the head, but on that which 
was the uppermost and sterile surface, and which, now that it is the 
undermost, has become prolific. The expansion of a fungus, according 
to Vittadini, is effected as follows : — " these thecae," of which we have 
been speaking, ''as they swell become distended with the contained 
seed, and mostly so at their free extremity, since they have more room 
for expansion in that direction than at the other, which is impacted into 
the substance of the pileus ; in consequence of this a series of wedges 
are formed which, as the seed continues to distend them, force out 
the pileus, loosen its marginal connections with the stalk, uncurl its 
involuted borders, and finally open up its cells, pores, and sinuses.*' * 

In those subterranean funguses which mature their seeds below the 
surface of the ground, the lower portion, so soon as this is accomplished 
in the upper, suddenly takes to grow upwards, carrying along with it 
the bag, which, on reaching the surface of the ground, bursts its enve- 
lopes and scatters its prolific dust to the winds. All funguses, as has 

* It appears too mecliamcal an explanation of a phenomenon so purely vital as 
growth ; to make it in any way dependant on a system of wedges, however ingeniously 
applied. 



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54 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OF ENGLAND. 

already been observed, have in all probability spores, though in a few 
instances of byssoid growths {Hyphas Himantias and jEthelias)^ these 
are not apparent ; in most cases too, they are attached to a hymenium, 
into which, or on the surface of which, they are placed till ripe. One 
very large tribe, by far the largest, are called Hymenomycetea, from 
vfirflf, a membrane, and fivtcosy ^fungus \ i. e., funguses with a seed mem- 
brane ; to distmguish them from those other kinds, very small nume- 
rically in proportion to themselves, Gaateromycetes^ in which the seeds, 
arranged and stored away in particular receptacles named sporanges or 
thecae, are with them included in the belly (ycurnip) of the fungus, as is 
the case in Truffles and Puff-balls. The hymenium, like that curiously 
doubled-down sheet of paper which conjurors turn into so many shapes, 
assumes a great variety of forms ; running down the gills of the mush- 
rooms and the pleats of the Cantharellus, up into the tubes of Boletuses ; 
sheathing the vegetable teeth of Hydna, forming an intricate labyrinth of 
anastomosing plates in Dadalea ; now rising into little rough eminences 
on the surface of the ThelephorcBy and now affording a smooth investment 
to that of the Clavaria. It is covered with a veil, which disappears so 
soon as the spores begin to ripen and its protection is no longer required ; 
seen under the microscope, it appears to be wholly made up of thecae. 

Successive developement of the Spores. 

When the spore is to cease to be a spore, and to become a mushroom, 
the first thing it does is to send forth certain cotton-like filaments, 
whose interlacings entangle it completely while they also serve to attach 
it to the place of its birth ; these threads, (Uke the spongioles attached 
to the roots of phenogamous plants, whose name sufficiently explains 
their office,) absorb, and bring nourishment to the quickened spore, 
which then maintains itself entirely by intus-susception. All this takes 
place before the germ has burst, or the embryo fungus begun to develope 
its organs. In some instances these elementary threads are, like the 
ordinary roots of plants, spread out to a considerable distance under- 



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DEVELOPEMENT OF THE 8P0RES. 55 

ground, forming here and there in their course small bulbs or tubercles, 
each of which in turn becomes a new individual; in others, and more 
commonly, these spores are sprinkled about unconnectedly, as in the 
Pietra funghaiay aflfecting certain spots only, which become so many 
small matrices whereof each furnishes a crop. The imion of many 
germinating granules together with their connecting threads, constitutes 
mushroom spawn, or as it is technically called carcytes*. Examined a 
short time after quickening, the spore is found to have swelled out into 
a fleshy kernel ; which in Puff-balls, Truffles, and the uterine subterranean 
families generally, constitutes of itself the whole fungus ; this only grows 
in size afterwards, the substance and original form remaining the same 
through the entire period of developement. In those destined to hve 
under the influence of air and light, this same rudimental nucleus 
gradually evolves new par ts^ and assumes, as we have seen, a vast variety 
of forms, (whereof each particular one is pre-determined, by the original 
bias imprinted upon every spore at its creation,) and here there is a 
manifest analogy with the progressive developement of new parts in 
the higher plants. In such funguses as are wrapped up in a volva or 
bag, during the earUest period of growth, this furnishes them not only 
with the means of protection, but of nourishment also. This volva, which 
is formed by the mere swelling out of the original fleshy bulb, when 
it has grown to a certain size, exhibits towards its centre, the rudiments 
of the young fungus ; of which the receptacle appears first, and all the 
other parts in succession. The embryo next taking to grow in its turn 
approaches the circumference of the volva, wliich having, by this time, 
ceased to expand, is burst open, and sometimes with much violence, by 
the emerging amanite. As soon as the hymenium has parted with its 
seed, which falls from it in the form of fine dust, the fungus collapsing, 
either withers on its stem, or else dissolves into a black liquid and so 
escapes to the earth. In such funguses as have not a volva, the basilar 
or primary nucleus, shoots up at once, in the form of a cone, and a little 

♦ "The facility with which these floccose threads are injured, and their connection 
destroyed, explains," says Vittadini, " the difficulty of transplanting funguses with success." 



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56 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OP ENGLAND. 

later presents at its apex the rudiments of a receptacle or head ; by 
degrees, and frequently by slow degrees*, the perfected structures of the 
plant are elaborated and spread themselves out into some of the forms 
mentioned above, of which the clavate is the most simple, and that with 
gills the most complex. The primary nucleus is formed out of simple 
cellular membrane, the cells of which at first elongating, and at length 
uniting into Uttle bundles, assume a fibrous appearance ; sometimes these 
fascicular bodies effiise themselves unchanged, into the substance of the 
receptacle in which they spread out and are lost ; at others, a trans- 
verse line makes the demarcation between the pileus and stem.f The 
last part formed in a fungus, generally, is that which bears the seed, and 
whenever an exception to this occurs, and the seed is formed at an 
earlier period than usual, nature has in this case provided three mem- 
branes, to cover and protect these deUcate organs till the plant shall have 
attained maturity : these are the ring {anulm), the veil {velum), and the 
wrapper (volva). 

Of the Anulus, i^he Velum and the Volva. 

Op these involucra the first two are partial, the other universal. The 
Volva is a thick membranaceous covering, originating at the base of the 
fungus, which it thus connects with the earth, and furnishes during its 
foetal life, with the means of support and nourishment. When this has 
ceased, and the plant has quitted its wrapper, if this still adhere to 
the base of the stalk, it is styled manifest Cm4inifestajy but if there be 
no traces of it left, obUterated CobliterataJ . It is free when it can 
be easily detached, and conffenital when it cannot without laceration. In 

* The great rapidity with which these wonderful changes succeed each other in ftmguses 
with a volva, is widely different from what occurs in those that have none. Thus the 
Morel takes thirty-one days, Geasters six and many Tubers twelve months for their full 
developement : so that, " To come up like a mushroom ", is a proverb with limitations. 

t When the base is formed before the receptacle, the fibres are continuous, but when 
the receptacle has been formed first, as the fibres of the last cannot be transmitted through 
those already formed, these two parts remain distinct. 



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OP THE ANULUS, ETC. 57 

funguses with bulbous roots it is congenital, in those without bulbs it 
is free. All funguses that have a Volva, are of course volvati, but 
as this organ exists in many only so long as they are underground, 
mycologists are agreed to restrict the term to such alone as retain it 
afterwards. 

The Bing. — ^This which differs considerably in form, substance, and 
in its attachments, is composed either of a continuous sheet of mem- 
brane or else of a number of delicately spun threads, resembling a 
spiders web*, which in either case passing from the margin of the pileus 
to the corresponding upper portion of the stem, give way as the plant 
expands, and either festoon for a season the margin of the cap, or encircle 
the stalk with a ring. The marginal remains of the Anulus are extremely 
fugaceous, but the ring round the stalk, though generally transitory, is 
sometimes persistent ; it is superior or descending when originating from 
the summit of the stem, it descends outwards and downwards to form 
connexions with the rim of the pileus; inferior or ascending when 
coming off from that portion of the stalk which is below the pileus it 
ascends to attach itself to this. In a few cases the ring is partly mem- 
bi'anaceous and partly composed of radiating arachnoid threads. 

The VeiL — Some funguses not only present the ring just mentioned, 
their hymenium or seed membrane being further protected from harm 
by a second investment, the veO, Velum, the stalk origin of which, when 
existing in conjunction with an Anulus, is below it, but when the fungus 
is not anulate, the Velum rises higher up on the stalk, stretches across 
to meet and is afterwards reflected over the whole surface of the pileus ; 
on the expansion of the Agaric this investment is entirely broken up, 
and exhibits those well-known flocks, which have been called by the 
learned verrucse, but which as they are generally of a dirty leprous hue, 
and affect more or less of a circular arrangement, have procured for this 
whole tribe of Amanites in Italy the uncomely epithet of Tignosi or Scald- 
heads, Where there has been both a Volva and a Velum, as sometimes 
happens in the same fungus, these verrucae are of different colours according 
* In the first instance the fungus is called emulate, in the second cortinate^ 

I 



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58 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OP ENGLAND. 

as they are remnants of the first merely, or of both together*. The 
Velimi in the sub-genus Limacium is a slimy coating adhering to the 
head of the fungus, which then looks as if it had been dipped in gum 
mucilage ; this generally disappears after a time leaving the epidermis 
dry, though sometimes like the soUd membranaceous veil it is more or 
less persistent. The waxy covering on the pileus of the Ag. virescens, 
which after a time cracks and tessellates its surface, is only an exudation 
limited to the upper portion of the cap, and not a veil. 

The Stali. — This, which is absent in many parasitical funguses of the 
order Pileati, when present, either efifiises itself uninterruptedly into the 
substance of the pileus, which it then, in fact, forms, or else supports 
merely as on a pillar, a distinct line of demarcation showing where the 
fibres terminate. It assumes a great variety of forms, which serve in 
many instances to characterise species ; besides which peculiarities there 
are others to be noted, as the mode of its insertion into the pileus, its 
having or not having a ring, the circumstance of its being scabrous, 
glossy or tomentose, reticulated, spotted or striped, of one colour above 
and another below, or of its changing colour when bruised, any of 
which may sometimes assist our diagnosis. 

The Pileus, — By far the larger number of funguses mentioned in this 
work have a pileus or cap; all such belong to the first great tribe 
Pileati \ they include the genera Agaricus, Boletus, CanthareUus, Mor- 
chella, HydnuMy Fistulina, and Polyporus, each of which furnishes its 
quota of alimentary species, together with many others not esculent ; 
the form of the pileus, like that of the stalk, is various in these difierent 
genera, besides being variable in the different species of the same genus ; 
generally it assumes an orbicular or umbrella shape, especially in such 
funguses as grow soUtary on the ground, whilst in others, parasitical on 
trees, (particularly when they have no stalk,) it is more or less of a half 
hemisphere. 

The GiUs. — ^Those vertical plates on the under surface of the mush- 

* i. e. When these happen to be of different hues originally, the fragments of the Veil 
being in some places covered by those of the wrapper, in others naked. 



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OF THE ANULUS, ETC. 59 

room, which radiate from the centre to the circmnference, hke the 
spokes of a wheel, are called gills Qamelia) ; they are not formed as some 
have supposed, of layers of the reduplicated seed membrane alone, but 
by a prolongation of the fibres of the pileus, which these merely invest. 
The fibrous structure is most apparent in Agarics with thick gills ; in 
those where the flesh changes colour when bruised ; or where the inter- 
posed flesh remaining white, the hjmaenium is tinged with the colour of 
the ripening spores. In those funguses which have Uttle flesh the upper 
surface of the pileus, especially towards the circumference, is frequently 
furrowed with transverse sulci ; these are occasioned by the sinking in of 
the epidermis along with the fibres of the flesh between the layers of the 
hymenium, and consequently their position always corresponds precisely 
to that occupied by the backs of the gills. The end nearest the stalk is 
termed posterior (postica), the opposite extremity anterior (antica) ; the 
terminations of the lesser gills take place at various distances short 
of the stalk, which the jperfect gills reach, and down which they some- 
times course or are decurrent (decurrentes) ; they are said to be adnate 
((adnata), when connected at their posterior end; free (libera) when 
they do not adhere ; remote (remota) when they terminate at a certain 
distance from the stem ; emarginate (emarginata) when they are obtusely 
notched or hollowed out posteriorly; denticulate (dentictdata) when 
connected by means of a tooth ; equal (eqtiaJes) when all of the same 
length ; forked (/areata) and branched (ramosa) when they divide in 
their course, once, or more frequently, or are connected at the sides 
with the imperfect gills; dedalean (dadalea) when they anastomose 
irregularly together ; simple (simpliees) when they are free from all con- 
nections ; distant (distantes) when they are few and wide apart ; close 
(eonferta) when they are very numerous and touch each other ; serrated 
(serrata) when notched hke a saw ; waved (undidata) when the margin 
is undulating; and imbricating (imbrieata) when they he one over 
another like tiles. 

The Tubes. — Funguses of the genus Boletm, &c., present on their 
under surface, in place of gills, series of small hollow cylinders or tubes ; 

i2 



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60 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OP ENGLAND. 

which arc for the most part soldered side to side like the cells of a honey- 
comb, but in the Fistulina are unconnected. Like the gills they are 
prolongations of the fibres of the pileus, but lined, instead of coated by the 
hymenium ; their free extremities are the pores, which at first are closed, 
but afterwards open to let the seed escape ; they are generally of equal 
length and simple, but sometimes in the interior of a large one, smaller 
tubes may be discerned in which case the first is termed compound. 
With reference to the stalk they are either adnate or decurrent, they 
first appear as a net work formed by sUght prominences of the fibres of 
the pileus ; if at this early period a portion be removed together with a 
piece of the flesh, it is reproduced in a few days and the tubes developed 
fis usual. The beautiful reticulations observed on the stalk of some 
Boletuses are produced by abortive tubes decurrent along their surface. 

The Plaits. — ^Vense, Plicae. The plaits of the Chanterelle are formed 
like the gills and tubes of the mushroom, and Boletus ; i. e., by the fibres 
of the flesh running down from the pileus, and invested in a reduplication 
of the hjrmenium ; vnth this difference however, that while in the two 
latter the seed membrane is divided into as many portions as there are 
gills or tubes, in the former the continuity of its surface is perfectly 
unbroken. These plaits {plica) are always late in appearing, and some- 
times are only developed when the fungus is about to cast its seed. 

The Spines. — ^Aculei, &c. The under surface of the pileus in the 
genus Hydnum is shagged with vegetable spines or teeth fdentes actdei) 
of unequal lengths, generally isolated but sometimes connected at the 
base, and formed originally out of a congeries of minute papiQae invested 
by the hymenium, which gradually elongate their fibres and assume this 
form. Light seems essential to their production, for if a Hydnum grow 
in the dark, the teeth shrink up into long threads and are sterile. 



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CLASSIFICATION. 61 



METHODICAL DISTRIBUTION 

OF THE 

BRITISH ESCULENT FUNGUSES. 

The primary division of funguses into Hymenmnycetes and GcLsteromycetes, 
is founded upon the position of their seed, which lies, as we have seen, 
externally in the first, and internally in the members of the second. The 
funguses described in the present work belong chiefly to the first divi- 
sion, HymenomyceteB ; to Tribe 1, Pileati ; and many of them to Genus 1, 
Agaricm. This genus includes a great variety of species, and is distin- 
guished from all other genera by having a fleshy pileus furnished under- 
neath with giUs^ which are placed at right angles to the stem. Some 
species, during their infancy, are enclosed either in one or more mem- 
branes. 



Tribe 1. PILEATL 
Genus 1. AGARICUS. 

Old words in Natural History seldom become obsolete, but they change 
their meanings strangely. Were Dioscorides and Pliny redivivi, they 
would find nothing but mis-nomers ! The term Agaricus, which anciently 
applied indiscriminately to all hard coriaceous funguses growing on trees 
(while the word Fungua did imperfect duty for this genus), was next 
arbitrarily made by Linnaeus to stand representative for such only as 
had gills; "fungi kmeUati terrestres et arborei''^ Persoon, again, 
under the name Amanita (a Galenic word, but hitherto unappropriated), 
made a new genus of such Agarics as were invagmated, i. e., shut up 
during the earlier period of their developement in a volva ; of such as had 
veins in place of gills {Meridius); and of such as had anastomosing giUs 

* Raii, Syn. 2. 



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62 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OF ENGLAND. 

formed another, Dadalea, a third division. More recently, Fries has 
greatly simplified the study of this very large and difficult genus by 
eliminating all of a coriaceous texture, and (having restored to it the 
genus Amanita) by then dividing the whole into sections; enabling 
us to arrive at an accuracy in the discrimination of species, which was 
wholly unattainable before his time. His first grand series of Agarics 
comprehends those of white spores (leucospori*), and of this his first 
section is 

Subgenus 1. Amanita, f 

All the Agarics belonging to this subgenus are, during the immaturity 
of the fungus, furnished with a volva and a ring ; some have a velum in 
addition, and in this case, the surface of the pileus is covered with warts 
orverrucae. This natural division was adopted long ago by Micheli, who 
gave the name Uovoli, to those which had only the two first, and that of 
Tignose to those that had all three. Altogether they form but a very 
small group, but one very important to distinguish accurately, as it 
includes besides one or two very delicate species, some which are highly 
poisonous. 

Bot Char. PUeua at first campanulate, then plane ; fleshy towards 
the centre, attenuated at the margin ; ffiUs ventricose, narrow behind, 
free, numerous, at length denticulate, the imperfect ones few, of a deter- 
minate form according to the kind, and, with one exception (that of Ag. 
CtBBariui), white. Stalk generally enlarged at the base, frequently bulbous, 
solid, or stuffed vnth a cotton-like substance, which is at length absorbed ; 
ring descending, imperfect, fugacious ; jle%h white, unchanging. 

Esculent species : Ag. vaginatm, 

Qi the Tignosiy that is, those vnth warts on their surface, some have 
striated margins, others are without striae. 
Esculent species : Ag. rubescena. 

* Xcvjc^ff, white, and awSpos, a seed, 

t ^y. ovoides (Bull.), which is white, and Jff, Casareus (Scop.), which is red, with 
yellow gills, belong to this division. 



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CLASSIFICATION. 63 

Subgenus 2. Lepiota.* 

Bot. Char. Folva fugacious, veil single, universal, closely adhering to 
and confluent with the epidermis, when burst forming a more or less 
persistent ring towards the middle of the stem ; stem hollow, stuflTed 
more or less densely with fine arachnoid threads, thickened at the 
base, fibrillose ; pileus fleshy, not compact, ovate when young, soon cam- 
panulate, then expanded and umbonate, more or less shagged with 
scales ; ^sA white, soft, sometimes changing colour ; ^ills free, unequal, 
white, never decurrent. 

Solitary, persistent, autumnal funguses, growing on the ground. Not 
dangerous. 

Esculent species : J^. procerus, Ag. excoriattia. 

Subgenus 8. ARMiLLARiA.f 

Bot. Char. Veil single, partial, forming a persistent ring, which in the 
unexpanded plant is joined to the margin of the pileus {; stem sohd, 
firm, sub-fibrillose, unequal ; pileus fleshy, convex, expanded, obtuse ; 
epidermis entire, even in the scaly species, and not continuous with the 
fibres of the ring ; flesh white and firm ; ffiUs broad, unequal, somewhat 
acute behind. 

Esculent species : Ag. melleus (?). 

Subgenus 4. Limacium.|| 
Esculent species : {none). 

Subgenus 5. Tricholoma.§ 

Bot. Char. Veil fibrous or floccose, fugacious ; staik generally soUd, 
firm, fleshy, attenuated upwards, scaly, fibrillose or striate ; pileus fleshy, 

* XfR-tff, a scale. t ^TtniUa^ a ring^ 

X This ring seems formed by the external fibres of the stalk, which having reached the 
posterior extremity of the gills, are reflected backwards to the margin of the pileus when 
they become attached. 

1 Zdmax, a slug, § Bp\$y a hair, and Xo/xa, ajringe. 



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64 ESCULENT PUNGUSES OF ENGLAND. 

compact, campanulate or depressed, convex ; margin attenuated, at first 
involute, shagged with woolly fibres or lanugo ; ^iUa unequal, obtuse 
behind, emarginate ; Jlesh white, and unchangeable. 

Esculent species: Ag.prunvlm''^ bjiA Jg. personatv^f. 

Subgenus 6. RussulaJ, {Scop.). 

JBot. Char. No veil; stem smooth, equal, glabrous, strong, white, 
spongy within ; piletis at first campanulate, then hemispherical, in age 
depressed, fleshy in the centre, thin at the margin which is never 
reflexed at any period of growth, the epidermis bare, smooth, occasionally 
sticky in wet weather ; gills juiceless, mostly equal, occasionally forked, 
the short ones few, rigid, brittle, broad in front, behind narrow, acute, 
properly free but apparently adnato-decurrent, from the efiusion of the 
stem into the pileus ; JlesA firm, dry, white, moderately compact, brittle ; 
asci slender ; sporules white or ochraceous ; gills white or yellow. 

Large or middle size, persistent, solitary funguses, growing on the 
ground. 

Esculent species : Ag. keteropkylltis, virescens^ and ruber. - 

Acrid species: Jg.emeticus, sanguineus^ and aJutateus. 

» 

Subgenus 6. Galorkh?us||. 

Bot. Char. No veil; stalk equal, round, solid, effiised into the pileus ; 
pileus fleshy, compact, generally umbiUcate, margin even, when young 
involute; gills unequal, sometimes veiy thick, often forked, narrow, 
attenuated behind, brittle, connected by a prolonged tooth to the stalk, 
down which they are slightly decurrent ; flesh firm and juicy, distilling 
milk. 

Esculent species : Ag. deliciosus emdpiperattcs. 



* This is not described in Mr. Berkeley's work. 

t Not described by Vittadini among the Esculen 
iknown there. 

t Rus9ulu8, red. || y^a, milk, and p««, lojlow. 



t Not described by Vittadini among the Esculent Funguses of Italy, and so probably 
unknown there. 



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CLASSIFICATION. 65 

Subgenus 8. Clytocybe.* 

Bot. Char. Fee/ none ; pUem at first convex, at length infundibuliform ; 
yiZfe unequal. The characteristics of this subgenus are rather negative 
than positive ; many of the contained species vary considerably amongst 
themselves, but the sub-divisions founded on such variations are all vrell 
marked. 

Sub-division DasyphyUL\ GiUs in close juxtaposition, decurrent or 
acutely adnate. 

Esculent species : A^. nebularis. 

Sub-division Camarophylli.X Pileus sub-compact, dry; yUk very 
distant, vaulted, decurrent. 

Esculent species : Aff. virffineus. 

Sub-division CAondrqpodes.W Pileus tough, dry; ^ills nearly free, 
dose, vrhite, external coat of stem sub-cartilagmous. 

Esculent species : Ag.fimpes. 

Sub-division Scortei. Pileus sub-coriaceous ; gills free, sub-distant. 
Esculent species : Ag. oreades. 

Subgenus 9. Collybia.§ 
Esculent species : {none). 

Subgenus 10. MYCENA.f 
Esculent species : (none). 



* kXItos, a decUvifyy and m/jSi), a head, f da<rvr, thicky and <^XXov, a leaf. 
X Kofidpa, a vault, and ^XXoy, a leqf. || x^^P^^> ^ ligametUy and novs, ^foot. 

S ic6kkvPos, a copper coin. % fivtcrfs, 9^fu.ngw, 



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66 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OP ENGLAND. 

Subgenus 11. Omphalia.* 
Esculent species : {none). 

Subgenus 12. PLEUROPUS.f 

Bot, Char, Pilem unequal, eccentric or lateral ; stem when present, 
solid and finn; ffilh unequal, juiceless, unchangeable, acute behind, 
growing on trees or wood ; for the most part innocuous, but two only 
generally eaten. 

Esculent species : Aff. ostreatuSy in the sub-division Concharia ; and 
A^. tdmaritiSy in the sub-division JEgeritaria. 

Series 2. HYPORHODEUS-t 
Spondee pale rose colour. 

Subgenus 13. Clitopilus. H 

Bot. Char, Veil none ; stem tolerably firm, sub-equal, distinct from 
the pileus ; pileus fleshy, campanulate or convex, at length somewhat 
plane, dry, regular ; gills unequal, changing colour as the fungus matures 
its seed, fixed, or free. 

Esculent species : Ag. orcella. 

Subgenus 14. Leptonia.§ 
Esculent species : {none). 

Subgenus 15. NoLANEA.f 
Esculent species : {none). 

Subgenus 16. Eccilia.** 
Esculent species ; {none). 

* ofjLtpakbsy umbilicus, f ir\€vp6p, a side, and novs, afoot, 

I \mh, under, and ptJ^op, rose-coloured, \\ kklros, a declivily, and mKos, a cap. 

§ XctttAs, slender, ^ nola, a Utile beU. ** cwcoiXcJw, to hollow out. 



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CLASSIFICATION. 6? 

Series 3. CORTINARIA.* 
SpondcB reddish ochre \ veil arachnoid. 

Subgenus 17. Tblamonia-j 
Esculent species : {none). 

Subgenus 18. Inoloma.} 

Bot. Char. Veil fugacious, marginal, consisting of fre6 arachnoid 
threads ; stem sohd, bulbous, fibrillose, more or less diflftised into the 
pileus, fleshy ; pileua fleshy, convex when young, then expanded, fibril- 
lose, or viscid, regular, juicy ; ^ilh emarginato-adnexed, broad, changing 
colour ; colour of the gills or pileus violet. 

Large autumnal funguses growing on the ground. 

Esculent species : A^. violacem. 

Subgenus 19. Dermocybe.|| 

Bot. Char. Veil dry, arachnoid, veiy fugacious ; stem not truly bulbous, 
fibrillose, stuffed when young ; pUem clothed with fibrilte, rarely with 
gluten ; ffills rather unequal, broad, close. 

Esculent species : A^. castanem. 

Series 4. DERMINUS. 

[In the nine subgenera following, from 20 to 28, viz., Pholiota, 
Myxacium^ Hebeloma^ Mammvla^ Inocybe^ Naucoria^ Galeray Tapinia, 
and Crepidotus, there are no esculent species.] 



* cortina, a veil. t TtXafjuop, lint. 

I iv6s, of 2k fibre ^ and Xoffia, vl fringe. \\ d€pfjLa, of a skin, and kv^^, a head. 

k2 



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68 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OP ENGLAND. 

Series 5. PRATELLA.* 

Bot Char. Feil not arachnoid ; ffills changing colour, clouded, at length 
dissolving ; sporidia brown purple. 

Subgenus 29. Volvaria. 
Esculent species : {rione). 

Subgenus 80. PsALiOTA.f 

Bot Char. Veil forming a partial ring-like investment, more or less 
persistent ; stalk robust, sub-equal, distinct from the pileus ; pUeus fleshy, 
more or less campanulate when young, almost flat when fully expanded ; 
sometimes sticky, sometimes scaly or else fibrillose, sometimes naked ; giUls 
unequal, free, or connected with the stalk, broad and deepening in colour. 

In addition to the ring, some have a very fugacious volva, or velum^ 
some both one and the other. 

Esculent species : Ag. campestris and Georffii. 

[In the four next subgenera, from 81 to 34, ITypholoma, Psilocyie, 
Psathyra, and Coprinaritia, there are no esculent species.] 

Subgenus 85. Coprinus.J 

Bot Char. Gilk free, unequal, thin, simple, changing colour, at length 
deliquescent ; asci large, segregate ; aportdes quatemate. Veil universal, 
floccose, fugacious ; stem fistulose, straight, elongated, brittle, subsqua- 
mulose, whitish ; pUem membranaceous, rarely sub-camose, when young 
ovato-conic, then campanulate, at length torn and revolute, deliquescent, 
distinct from the stem, clothed with the flocculose fragments of the veil. 

Fugacious funguses, growing in rich dungy places or on rotten wood. 

Esculent species : J^. comatm and aframentarim. 

Subgenus 30. Gomphus. 
No esculent species. 

* pratum, a pasture. f yl^akwy, a ritu;, J K6wpof, (hmg. 



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CLASSIFICATION. 69 

Genus 2. CANTHARELLUS* 

Boi. Char. These are distinguished from Agarics, which at first sight 
they resemble, by having veins in place of gills ; that is, by having the 
prolongations of the fibres of the pileus invested in an undivided^ in 
place of a divided, hymenium, as occurs in Agarics and in the genus 
Boletus. These veins are prominent, ramifying, seldom anastomosing ; 
central, eccentric, or wanting; no investments ; dust white. 

Esculent species : 0. cibarius. 

[In the next three genera, Merulins^ SchizophyUum^ and Dadcdea^ there 
are no esculent species.] 

GentjsG. POLYPORUS.t 

Bot Char. Hymenium concrete with the substance of the pileus, 
consisting of subrotund pores with thin simple dissepiments. 

Esculent species : P.frondoms. 

Genus 7. BOLETUS.t 

Bot. Char. The word Boletus, which has at different times, and under 
different mycologists, been made to represent in turn many very different 
funguses, is now restricted to such as have a soft flesh, vertical tubes 
underneath, round or angular, slightly connected together and with the 
substance of the pileus, open below, and lined by the sporiferous mem- 
brane ; the cap horizontal, very fleshy, the stalk generally reticulated, 
some have an investment ; the flesh of many changes colour. 

They are all innocuous, according to Vittadini, which is not strictly 
the case, though many species hitherto reputed unwholesome, or worse, 
appear to lose their bad properties by drying. The kinds generally e^ten 
are B. edulis and scaler. 

* lubfOapoSf a cup, t no\v9, many, and fr6pos, a jTore. X fiSikos, a ball. 

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70 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OP ENGLAND. 



Genus 8. FISTULINA.* 



Bot, Char. Hymenium fonned of a distinct substance, but concrete with 
the fibres of the pileus ; tubes at first wart-like, somewhat remote, radiato- 
fimbriate, closed ; at length approximated, elongated, open. 

Esculent species : 7^. hepatica. 

Genus 9. HYDNUM.f 

Bot Char, In this genus the under surface presents a series of conical 
teeth or bristles of unequal length, solid, continuous with the flesh of the 
pileus and covered entirely by the sporiferous membrane. The species 
composing it have no investments ; \h& flesh is dry, frequently corky or 
coriaceous ; the pileus irregular in shape, and its margin arched and 
undulated. There are no dangerous species, but which to eat must 
depend upon the united consent of the stomach and of the teeth. 

Esculent species : H. repandum, 

[In the last five genera of this tribe, namely, Sistotrema, Irpewy Badu- 
lum, Phlebiay and Thelephora^ there are no esculent species.] 



Tribe 2. CLAVATI.t 

Hymenium above, smooth ; rec^tacle club-shaped or cylindrical, with 
no distinct margin ; asd fixed ; substance fleshy. 

Genus 15. CLAVAKIA | 

Bot. Char. Beceptacle erect, homogeneous, smooth, not distinguishable 
from the stalk, simple or entirely covered by the hymenium. 
AU the species in this genus are good to eat. 

[In the remaining six genera of tlus tribe there are no esculent species.] 



* Named from ihe^tulous nature of the hymenium. 
t vdvov, a truffle, &c.. X dava, a club. 



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CLASSIFICATION. 71 

Tribe 8. MITRATI. 

Receptacle bullate, pileiform, margined; hymenium superior, never 
closed. 

Genus 22. MORCHELLA. 

Bot Char. 'Receptacle hollow and confluent with stalk, club-shaped, 
or, like the pileus, fissured above with lacunae more or less deep, limited 
by thick folds, anastomosed with reticulations, entirely covered with 
sporiferous membrane ; jlesh waxy in texture ; stalk constant. 

There are two esculent kinds, M. esculenta and semUibera ; the escu- 
lenta and hyhrida of Sowerby. 

GENtrs 23. HELVELLA.t 

Rot. Char. Substance fleshy ; margins sinuous ; only the upper portion 
of the pileus sporiferous. 

Esculent species ; H. crispa and lacunosa. 

[In genera 24 to 26 there are no esculent species.] 



Tribe 4. CUPULATI. 

Hymenium concrete, superior, smooth, shut in while young by the 
margins of the receptacle ; sporvles disseminated with elasticity or other- 
wise ; receptacle bowl-shaped, flat or concave ; some of this tribe when 
young have an involucrum. 

Genus 27. PEZIZA. 
Series Aleuria. 
Subgenus MegalopyxU. 
Esculent species ; P. acetabulum. 

[In genera 28 to 45, which conclude the first great division Hyme- 
nomycetes, there are no esculent species.] 



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72 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OF ENGLAND. 

Division II. GASTEROMYCETES. 

Bot^ Char. The receptacle a close cavity with or vsdthout a hymenium ; 
spores shut up in thecsB or sporanges, at last free and variously dis- 
seminated. 

[In genera 46 to 73 there are no esculent species.] 

Genus 74. BOVISTA.* 

Bot. Char. Peridium papyraceous, famished with a distinct back, 
which at length peels off altogether, fertile within: capiUitium equal. 
Esculent species : B.plumbea. 

Genus 75. LYCOPERDON. 

Bot. Char. A sessile peridium, membranaceous ; at first filled with a 
white, consistent, homogeneous substance, which after a time is converted 
into a dust of various hues, and is interspersed with copious filaments. 
The funguses of this genus are invested in two membranes ; the inner- 
most of which, or peridium, is tough and smooth on the outside, shaggy 
with floccose threads within, whence its name CapiUitium, or sca^. 
The external membrane, which is very fragile and tender, frequently 
falls off during the maturation of the seed, which then escapes through 
the peridium by an irregular orifice at the apex. 

Esculent species : L.plumheum and bovista. 



* Name latinized from the Oerman bofist, 

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DESCRIPTION OP SPECIES. 73 

AGARICUS PRUNULUS, rtft. 

Plate I. 

Subgenus Teicholoma, Fries. 
Subdivision Pbrsonata, ibib. 



AaAjRicu3 MOUOEBON^ BuUiari, Casalpmvs, p. 617. 
MoucBjiON OBIS, Paulet, JPeraoon. 



" Cogitatione ante pascuntur succineis novaculis aut argenteo apparatu 
comitante." — Pliny, 

" Tout ce que fait romement des festins s'enbaume du parfum de ces 
cryptogames.?' — Persoon. 

BoT. Char. Gregarious, or growing in rings* on the ground, pilem 
thick, convex, irregular in shape, more or less tuberculated, sometimes 
lobedf; margin not striate, wavy, expanding unequally; epidermis 
cream-coloured, grey, reddish, or of a dirty nankeen hue, paler towards 
the circumference, soft to the touch like kid, minutely tomentose, fragile, 
dry, firmly attached to the flesh; flesh firm, compact; yills watery, 
white, veiy numerous, irregular, with many smaller ones, (fix)m 5-11, 
Vitt.), interposed, lying over each other Uke the plaits of a firill, adnato- 
emarginate{, the imperfect gills rounded off at their posterior end. 
Stem white, robust, firm, solid, somewhat irregular in form, generally 

* They are reproduced in these rings about the same time every year, the circle con- 
tinuing to enlarge till it breaks up at last into irregular lines, which is a sure sign to the 
collector that the Prunulus is about to disappear from that place, just as the presence of 
an unbroken ring is condusive of a plentiful harvest the next spring. 

t These lobes, formed by the constriction of the pileus, whilst emerging from the roots 
of the grass, are sometimes so much strangulated as to present the appearance of small 
stalkless Agarics growing from the large, and projecting from their sides like ears. 

t That is, connected by a tooth to the end of the stalk and not running down it. 



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74 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OF ENGLAND. 

thickened at the base, constantly so in young specimens, but in older 
ones, though occasionally bulging, it presents not unfrequently an equal 
cylinder throughout, and sometimes tapers slightly downwards. The 
fibres are effused into the pileus, spreading out like a fan through its 
substance ; Bmell strong, taate agreeable ; ^ores white, elliptical, adhering 
firmly to the body on which they fall. The dried plant retains much 
the same form it had when fresh. 

On tracing this fungus to its origin, (spring is the only time, and the 
borders of the woodlands the proper place, to look for it) ; if we dig up 
the earth where it grows, this will be found mouldy to a considerable 
depth beneath the surface, and strongly impregnated with the peculiar 
odour which the Prunulm exhales ; this apparent mouldiness being, in 
fact, the spawn, amidst the white filaments of which many minute Agarics, 
in various stages of their developement, may be found ; some, in the 
earliest, presenting merely white cones destitute of heads, whilst in 
others a slight protuberance indicates the future pileus forming, or 
already formed. The pileus is at first almost spherical, and involute in its 
borders, the gills whitish, very minute, and so thickly set as to press one 
against the other, each communicating to the membrane that lines the 
next, the impressions of its own fibres, which remain in the form of trans- 
verse striae, and furnish a characteristic to this fungus retained during 
all its subsequent growth (Vitt.). The greatest size which I have known 
the Prunulm attain has been in England, where I have picked speci- 
mens measuring six inches across, and weighing between four and five 
ounces ; as to the fecimdity of this fungus I collected this spring from 
a single ring, on the War-Mount at Keston (Kent), from ten to twelve 
pounds, and in the one field fix)m twenty to twenty-five pounds. In 
this neighbourhood they are generally destroyed, as injurious to his 
grass-crops, by the over-careful farmer, quite ignorant of course of their 
value ; to which the following extract from a letter of Professor Balbi, 
to Persoon bears testimony: "This rare and most deHcious Agaric, 
the Mouceron of Bulliard, and the Ag.prunvlus of other authors, abounds 
on the hills above the valley of Stafora near Bobbio, where it is called 



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DESCRIPTION OF SPECIES. 75 

Spinaroli, and is in great request ; the country people eat it fresh in a 
variety of ways or they dry and sell it for from twelve to sixteen francs 
a pound." Vittadini says, truly enough, that the fresh is better than 
the dried Pruntdus, the substance of the latter being rather coriaceous, 
but the gravy prepared from it in this state being very rich and well- 
flavoured is largely used by those who reject the body of the mushroom ; 
three or four thrown into a pot of the lighter broths or of beef-tea render 
them more savoury. To dry the Prunidua it is usual to cut it into four 
or more pieces, which are exposed for some days to a dry air, and then 
threaded : it acquires an aroma by the process, and communicates this to 
any dish of which it is afterwards an ingredient. 

It would be extremely difficult to confound this Agaric with any other ; 
its mode of growth in circles, the extreme narrowness of its gills, which 
are moreover striate, the thickness of its pileus, and the bulging character 
of its stalk would render a mistake almost impossible, even did it grow 
in autumn when other funguses abound, in place of appearing only in 
spring when few species comparatively occur. 

The best mode of cooking the Jff, pruntdtis, is either in a mince 
or fricassee it with any sort of meat, or in a voUcm-vent, the flavour of 
which it greatly improves ; or simply prepared with salt, pepper, and a 
small piece of bacon, lard, or butter, to prevent burning, it constitutes 
of itself a most excellent dish. It has the great advantage of appearing 
in spring, at a season the common mushroom never occurs. I have placed 
it first in the series of plates, as being the most savoury fungus with 
which I am acquainted.* 

When eaten alone, Sterbeck's white mustard will be found an excellent 
condiment for it ; this is prepared as follows : — Bruise in a mortar some 
sweet almonds with a httle water, then add salt, pepper, and some 
lemon juice, rub together, till the whole is of the consistence of common 
mustard. 

* The Prunulus is much prized in the Koman market, where it easily fetches 30 baiocchi, 
i. e., ISd, per lb. ; a large sum for any luxury at Eome ! It is sent in little baskets as 
presents to patrons, fees to medical men, and bribes to Eoman lawyers. When dried, it 
constitutes the so called " Funghi di Genoa," which are sold on strings throughout Italy. 

l2 



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76 ESCULENT FUNGUSES 01 ENGLAND. 

AGARICUS PROCERUS, Scop, 

Plate II. 
Subgenus Lepiota, Fries. 



" Elle eat d'un saveur tr5s agrfeable, et d'xme chair tendre, tr^ delicate 
et tres bonne a manger. Les amateurs la preferent m6me au champignon 
de couche comme ayant une chair plus fine et dtant beacoup plus l^gere sur 
Testomac." — Paulet. 



This, which is one of the most delicate funguses, fortunately is not rare 
in England. In Italy it is in equal request with the Amanita Casarea ; 
in France it is also in high esteem, — " servie sur toutes les tables elle est 
bonne a toute sauce " {Thore) ; and were its excellent qualities better 
known here, they could not fail to secure it a general reception into our 
best kitchens, and a frequent place among our side dishes at table. The 
beauty and remarkable appearance of this Agaric have procured for it a 
variety of names j Colubrinus, from the snake-like markings on the stem ; 
Clypeatmy from its umbonated top ; ^fango parasoled from the orbicular 
form of the wide-spread pileus ; and Gambaltiem or Fonz de la gamha 
lunga, from the extraordinary height of the stalk. Autumn is the time 
of its greatest abundance, but individual specimens occur occasionally 
throughout the summer. 

It grows solitary in hedge-banks and pasture-grounds. 

The pileus which is commonly from four to four and a half inches 
across, sometimes attains a width of six or seven. At first it is concealed 
in a volva, but breaking from this it goes through a v^ety of forms, 
from that of an ovoid cone, to that of a flattened disk. It is umbo- 
nated at the centre, and covered with scales, which are formed by the 
breaking up of the mud-coloured epidermis, and are large, raised, and 
persistent at the centre ; thin, regular, and lighter in hue at the circum- 



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Leonard iJlK. 



JU5 TKOCKkUS imt5u-.R 



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DESCBIPTION OP 9PECIBS. 77 

ference, " the whole surface resembling a delightfully soft, shaggy brown 
leather/' {Pwrton). The fleeh of tiie pileus \A trhite tad cottony, that of 
the stalk fibrous and somewhat brittle, with a subrubescent tinge, the 
whole plant turning to a rufous orange when bruised ; the gills are of 
a pale flesh-colour, occasionally forked, ventricose, denticulate, remote 
from the stalk and having a circular pit between it and their central 
extremities, which are fixed into a kind of collar. The stalk tawny, 
striped circularly with bands of white, formed by the breaking up of the 
epidermis ; is bulbous at the base and attenuated upwards ; its apex 
rounded, and penetrating deeply through the flesh of the pileus, (which 
receives it ad in a socket;, gives rise to the central umbo on the upper 
surface of the cap. The ring moveable, like that of an umbrella-stick, 
broad, compact, membranaceous immediately round the stalk, and fibrous 
towards its free margin, is tvhite above and tawny, or of the same 
coloiur as the stalk on its under surface. The smell is like that of newly- 
ground toeal ; the taste is pleasant ; the spores are white and elliptic. 

The A^. excoriatm resembles the A^. procerus very closely, but is easily 
distinguished from it by its smaller size, the absence of the bulb at the 
base of the stalk, and the ring being often attached instead of free. 
Being equally esculent ; the following receipts will serve for both : — 
" Comme il est tres leger et tr^ deUcat il faut le faire sauter dans 
rhuile fine apres Tavoir assaisonne d'un point d'ail, de poivre et de sel ; 
eti quelques instants il est cuit. On le mange aussi en fricassee de 
poulet, cuit sur le gril ou dans la tourtiere avec de beurre, de fines herbes 
du poivre, du sel, et de la chapelure de pam ; on ne mange point la tige, 
elle est d*une texture coriace." — Moquea. 

The ketchup from both kinds is better than that procured from the 
Agaricm campesfm, or common mushroom. 



N.B. I have in tlie above notice described one variety of Jgaricus procerus, there is, 
however, if not another, at least, a remarkable modification of this, in which the pileus 
is thinner and much less shaggy, the gills less broad, but similar in shape, the stalk more 
slender and elongate ; this variety is also nearly void of odour, and Us fies% does not 
change colour on being bruised : for cuHaaiy parpoecB this distinction is without importance, 
as both are equally good. 



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78 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OP ENGLAND. 

BOLETUS EDULIS, Buaiard. 

Plate HI. 
Section Cortinaria, FrieB. 



'* Atto soyra ogniin altro fungo al comercio forma da questo lato, per non 
poche paese della Lombardia una delle prmcipale risorsi della povera 
gente."— Fi«. 

The ancient Romans were well acquainted with this truly delicious 
fungus, and in general appear to have done it justice : the strings of 
dried Suillus, which his countrymen on the testimony of Pliny, were in 
the habit of fetching from Bithynia, were in all likelihood the same as 
those similarly prepared strings of the modern Porcino which are sold 
during the winter in every market-place throughout Italy.* Vittadini 
mentions a curious fact respecting them, viz. : — ^that though they are 
composed of many different Boletuses, no mischief was ever known 
to originate from their indiscriminate and very extensive consumption ; 
whence he concludes that all the species of this genus are innocuous, 
or at least, that drying and cooking will extract any deleterious princi- 
ples which they may have originally contained ; — an inference, he thinks, 
supported by the daily use among the peasantry of certain districts of 
the B. luridus, which of all bad Boletuses commonly passes for the 
worst, and by his having experimented with it in large doses upon 
animals, who did not suffer in consequence. I have eaten in England 
a small quantity both of B, Grevillei and of B. gramtlatuB, which have 
much of the flavour of the B. edidis : of the B. subtomenfosus, (though 
on the authority of Trattinick it is eaten in Germany), I have no 
personal experience, nor do I recommend to the amateur any species 

* If the Suillus be indeed the same as the modem Porcino, as its name would imply, 
few who know how good it is will be disposed to pity Martial, who laments his hard case, 
in having had to eat this fungus at his patron's table, while he feasted on the Boletus, 
i, e, the A^. Casareus, It woidd seem however from this epigram, that the Suillus was not 
in Martial's time what it now unquestionably is, a favourite with the rich. 



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FlMt£ 3. 




l«!ona.ri, litli. 



BOLETUS "EDULI8. 

CRechiced) 



•nve Be: :.T.T!i fc T< ef.i. irrj. 



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DESCRIPTION OF SPECIES. 79 

beyond the two universally eaten and approved of on the continent, 
viz. : — the B, edulis and B, scaber. 

B. edulis. Bot. Char. Pilem from six to seven inches across, pul- 
vinate, smooth, with a thick margin, varying in colour from light brown 
or bronze, to bay, dark brown, or black, or a mixture of all these 
colours. The epidermis firmly adherent to the flesh, that firm, and 
except the part in immediate contact with the skin, which has a slight 
brown tint, white ; the under surface of the cap nearly flat, often pre- 
senting a circular pit or depression round the stalk ; tubes at first white, 
then yellow, lastly of an oUve or yellow green tint, in the earUer stage of 
developement (their free extremities then lie against the side of the stalk) 
closed ; afterwards, as the cap expands, stopped up with a waxy looking 
material of a dirty pearl colour. Stem varying much in shape at 
diflferent periods of the growth of the Boletus, always thick and sohd ; 
at first white, but soon changing to fawn colour, beautiftdly meshed or 
mapped (especially on its upper portion) with reticulations characteristic 
of this species. As the period for casting its seed advances the inferior 
surface of the cap swells out, the waxy matter is absorbed, the tubes 
present deep and rounded orifices to the eye, and presently emit an 
abundant seminal dust, of an ochraceous green hue, (sometimes difficult 
to collect from the quantity of moisture exhaled with it), after which 
both cap and stalk become flaccid, the tubes turn to a dirty green, and 
the whole fungus falls rapidly into a state of decomposition. The 
favourite sites for this Boletus are woods, especially those of pines, oaks, 
and chesnuts ; it abounds in Autumn, but occurs in Spring and occa- 
sionally in Summer. There is one variety, the pinicola, whose name 
gives its whereabouts, which difiers from the foregoing, in having a 
moist, somewhat sticky cap, a watery flesh changing near the tubes 
to a light yellow green when bruised ; the reticulations are ill-marked 
in this species. 

The Boletus edulis cannot be mistaken for any other Boletus because 
it alone presents all the following characters united, viz. : — a cap of 
which the surface is smooth ; tubes the colour of which varies with each 



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80 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OF ENGLAND. 

p&Aod tif its gvowtb, <beai£itifiil aad singular feticidaticmB of the stalk, 
especially towards the upper portion, and a flesh which is white and 
nnehjua^Bg. 

13m Boletue caetanem which bears «ome little general resemblance 
to it, is at once distinguished by haying a cottoi^ fibriUose stem without 
reticuh^ns, n downy eap and dirty yellow dust : neither can it be oon- 
foimded wifh the £> ntitomentcms, or £. luridus, because in addition to 
■mamy t)ther points of di^erence, both these diange colour on being cut 
oribvuised. 

j^srto the best manner of booking B. etMis, this must be left 1;o the 
taate of the gourmet; in ewrj way it is good. Its i^mAefr and juic^ 
flfi^ its ddieate amd sapid flavour, rend^ it equally acc^table to the 
plain -and to liie accompliahed cook. It imparts a rdish alike to the 
homely hash «id the dainty ragout, and may be truly said to im^ove 
wery Hsii of whidi it is a constituent. ''Nihil quod tetigit non 
omavit/' ''Tfaongh much neglected in this oountry it appears to be 
a most vahiable article of food. It res^nbles mueh in taste the common 
nmshroom and is quite as delicate ; it abounds in seasons when these 
are not to be found." (Berkeley.) 

Modes of Cooking Boletus edtdis. — (Peesoon.) 

It may be cooked in white sauce, with or without chicken, in fricassee 
broiled or baked with butter, salad oil, pepper, sa^ chopped herbs, and 
bread-crumbs; to which some add ham or a mince of anchovy. It 
makes excellent frittert : some roast it with onions (basting with butter), 
but las these take longer to cook than the Boletus, this must not be put 
down till the onions have begun to soften. 

Boletus edulis Soupy made in Hungary. — (Paulet.) 

Having dried some Boletuses in an oven ; soak them in tepid water, 
thickening with toasted bread, till the whole be of the consistence of 
a puree, then rub through a sieve, throw in some stewed Boletuses, 
boil together, and serve with the usual condiments. 



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DESCRIPTION OP SPECIKS. 81 



AGARICUS CAMPESTRIS. 

Plate IV and V. 
Section Pratella. Subdivision Psaliota, Friea. 



■'"*^*^|^i^^«^^*^^^^^^<^^W\/Vi*W^ 



Agasicus cahpestris^ Linn, 



" Ou croit ce champignon delice dee festins, 
Que Tart fait cliaque jour n^tre dans nos jardins/' — CasteU 

There is scarcely any one in England who does not feel himself competent 
to decide on the genuineness of a mushroom : its pink gills are carefully 
separated from those of a kindred fiingus A. Georgii^ which are of a 
flesh-coloured grey^ and out of the pickings of ten thousand hands, 
a mistake is of rare occurrence ; and yet no fungus presents itself under 
such a variety of forms, of such singular diversities of aspect ! the 
inference is plain ; less discrimination than that employed to distinguish 
this, would enable any who should take the trouble, to recognize at a 
glance many of those esculent species, which every spring and autumn, 
fill our plantations and pastures with plenteousness. Neither is this left 
to be a mere matter of inference ; it is corroborated in a singular manner 
by what takes place at Rome ; here whilst many hundred baskets of what 
we call toadstools are carried home for the table, almost the only one 
condenmed to be thrown into the Tiber, by the Inspector of the fungus 
market is our own mushroom :* indeed, in such dread is this held in the 
Papal states, that no one knowingly would touch it ; " it is reckoned one 
of their fiercest imprecations," writes Professor Sanguinetti, " amongst our 

* " D Sorvegliatore fa gettare ai venditori tutti i funghi fracidi e quelle che crede nocivi 
cd e assolutamente prohibito la vendita dei cosi detti praterole buoni o cattiyi che sicno." — 
Sanguvnetti. (Extract from an unpublisbed Letter.) 



M 

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82 ESCULBNT FUNGUSES OF ENGLAND. 

lower orders, infamous for the horrible nature of their oaths, to pray 
that any one may die of a Pratiolo " ; and although it has been some 
years registered among the esculent funguses of Milan and Favia, (on the 
authority of Vittadini) ; it has not yet found its way into those markets. 
Besides the general botanical characters which apply to all varieties of 
Jy. campestris, almost every writer has felt the necessity of pointing out 
several peculiarities, belonging to each ; the three best defined varieties 
are represented in the accompanying plates. Common to all are a fleshy 
pileus, which is sometimes smooth, sometimes scaly, in colour white, 
or of different shades of tawny, fuliginous, or brown ; gills firee, at first 
pallid, then flesh-coloured, then pink, next purple, at length tawny 
black ; the stem white, full, firm, varying in shape, furnished with a 
white persistent ring ; the spores brown black, and a volva which is very 
fugacious. 

Far. A. €dtdi8. 

This, which is our button mushroom, lies at first concealed in the 
earth, at which period it presents the appearance of a puff-ball ; at a 
second stage of its growth, it exhibits a white, smooth, and continuous 
epidermis ; giUs rounded off at their posterior end ; a large somewhat 
fmmel-shaped double ring, firee, and sometimes moveable on the stem, 
which is short and thick. This according to Vittadini is the most sapid 
variety of any. 

Far. B. praiensia. 

This differs firom the last in the duskier hue of its pileus, which is 
moreover scaly, and has ragged margins ; the gills are ventricose ; and 
the ring, which is sub-fugacious is cortinarious, «. e. of a cobweb texture, 
and refiexed ; the stalk is longer than in the last species, and tapers 
towards the base ; the colour of the flesh in this vmety is vinous or even 
sanguine. 



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.-^■i.'-. h>r IJ? CAMPESTRIS, V 



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DESGBIPTION Of SPECIES. 83 

Far. c. silvicola. 

This differs from the two former in the following particulars ; the gills 
are pallid, taper equally at both ends, and oome off at a considerable 
distance from the stalk, which is surrounded above by a veiy delicate 
ring, and is bulbous at the base, the bulb showing traces of the volva.* 

Var. D. anceps. 

Such uncultivated mushrooms as when eaten even in small quantity, 
produce violent 'derangement of the stomach and intestinal canal belong 
to a variety which, since it grows under hedges, is sometimes called ' the 
hedge mushroom,* — ^this, to which for distinction sake, I have given 
the name of anceps, is by no means of rare occurrence. In order to dis- 
criminate it properly from the wholesome varieties, the first point to 
notice is its extreme lightness as compared with its bulk, that the gills 
are of a deeper and of a more lurid red than those of Far. edulis, and 
in age less purple ; they are also less deliquescent. The flesh is more 
tough and not so juicy. The stem, as in the Far. silvicola, is curved 
and bulbous, but also fistulose throughout. The ring complete, firm, 
broad, reflexed, and persistent ; the odour disagreeable and the taste 
insipid. Hie form of the pileus that of an obtuse cone in young speci- 
mens ; extremely flat in the middle state ; and more or less concave 
in age. It seldom grows solitary. The mushroom proper, like other fun- 
guses, should be eaten fresh; a few hours making all the difference 
between its wholesomeness or unwholesomeness ; nor need this surprise 
us when we consider how many principles enter into its composition, — 
how short is the period of its existence, — and how liable it must be 
to enter into new combinations in consequence. Vauquelin found in 
its flesh fat, adipocere, osmazome, an animal matter insoluble in alcohol, 

* This is that variety of J. caanpestriB which has been so often oonfbnnded with the 
AnuaiUa vema, and with these the^. al^ viroms ; all these fungases, besides presentinga 
strong similarity in appearance, are found in the same locality, and at about the same time 
of year. — FiU. 

M 2 



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84 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OF ENGLAND. 

sugar, fungine, and acetate of potash. What a medley! and what 
wonder, if the changes induced during decomposition should cause the 
indigestions suffered by those who have eaten them in this state ! The 
mushroom having the same proximate principles as meat, requires like 
meat to be cooked before these become changed. The Ag. eampeatris 
may be prepared in a great variety of ways : they give a fine flavour 
to soups, and greatly improve beef-tea; — ^where arrow-root and weak 
broths are distasteful to the patient, the simple seasoning of a little 
ketchup will frequently form an agreeable change. Some roast them 
basting with melted butter and white (Trench) wine sauce.* In patties 
and voUaU'Venta they are equally excellent ; in fricassees, as every body 
knows, they are the important element of the dish. Roques recommends 
in all cases the removal of the gills before dressing, which though it 
secures a more elegant-looking entremet, is only flattering the eye at the 
expense of the palate. 

Far. B. bovintis. 

This variety differs from the Jg. Georgii and the type of the species in size 
and other particulars. There are specimens which measure fifteen inches 
across the pileus, with a stalk of corresponding dimensions. The pileus 
is shaggy, like that of the Ag. procerus^ with epidermic scales, which are 
at first nearly white, but in fully developed specimens, of a rich tawny 
colour, like the Polyporus squamoma ; and sometimes of a red brown. 
The scales more depressed than in Ag. procerus y the gflls not ventricose, 
equal at both ends, separated from the stalk by a fossa or groove which 
runs round its apex ; the stalk solid, attenuated at the very base, but 
thickened just above it, a slightly vinous hue when bruised ; flesh of 
ring perfect, persistent, and hanging round the stalk like a sheet of thin 
white kid \ into which a number of delicate silver threads may be traced 
proceeding from the apex of stem. The smell is powerful but agreeable 
as also is the flavour ; no part of the surface ever turns yellow. This 

* Ude complains that we have none of the light white French wines for sauces except 
Champagne. Cider or Perry wfll, however, be found good substitutes. 



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DESCRIPTION OF SPECIES. 85 

variety is both wholesome and well-flavoured ; as it is commonly known 
by the peasants imder the name of the ' Ox-Mushroom/ I have called 
it bovinm. 

Receipt I. — a la Provenfale. 
Steep for two hours in oil, with some salt, pepper, and a little garUc : 
then toss up in a small stew-pan over a brisk fire, with parsley chopped 
and a Uttle lemon-juice. 

Beceipt IL — To %tt£ff Mushrooms. 
Take large mushrooms, full grown, but not black ; remove the gills, 
and place in Ueu of them the following stuffing, — ^bacon shredded, crumbs 
of bread, chopped herbs and a little garlic or eschalot, (as for omelettes) 
salt, pepper, and a taste of spice. Broil in paper as a maintenon cutlet^ 
moistening with butter, when necessary. 

Receipt IIL — Mmhrooms a la Marquis Cussi. 
Take button mushrooms ; put to them a very small quantity of garlic, 
finely chopped ; toss up over a brisk fire with a little butter ; add some 
lemon juice ; give them a few turns ; then add stdt, pepper, nutmeg, and 
a wine-glassful of the richest brown gravy (Grande Espagnole), when 
the mushrooms are warmed through in this, add a couple of glasses of 
Sauteme, sinuner for ten minutes, and serve. 

A homely mode of cooking A. campestris in Bucks, is to cut up the 
buttons with pieces of bacon the size of dice, and then to boil them in 
a dumpling. 

Method of cultivating. 

The following method of cultivating mushrooms can need nothing 
beyond Mr. Paxton's name to recommend it. — 

" Collect a sufficient quantity of fresh horse-droppings, as free from 
straw as possible, lay it in an open shed in a heap or ridge ; here it will 
heat violently, and in consequence should be now and then turned for 



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86 ESCULENT FUNGUSES Of ENGLAND. 

sweetening ; after this has subsided to moderation, it will be in a fit 
state for forming into a bed. In the process of making the bed, the 
dung should be put on in small quantities and beat firmly and equally 
together, until it is the required size ; in this state let it remain until the 
highest degree of heat to which it is capable of coming is ascertained, 
whidi may be readily done by inserting a heat-stick, and pressing it 
with the hand ; if not found violent, the spawn may be broken up into 
pieces of two or three inches square, and put into holes about three 
inches in depth, by six inches asunder, over its surface : after this throw 
a very small quantity of well-broken droppings over the whole. In this 
state let it remain for two or three weeks, when a loamy soil may be put 
on about an inch or an inch and a half thick, and gently patted with the 
spade. If the temperature of the house be kept about sixty or sixty-five 
degrees, mushrooms may be expected in six weeks. It is not well 
to water the beds much, particularly when bearing ; it is much better 
to throw a little water over the path and flues, which will both improve 
the colour and the flavour of the mushrooms without being attended with 
those bad effects frequently resulting from watering, viz. ; — ^that of 
destroying the young stock, and turning browner those already fit for 
table."— Paxton's Bot. Bid. 

With regard to the spawn, it may be collected as recommended in the 
French work cited by Mons. Roques, and kept in a dry place till wanted ; 
or by digging about the roots of growing mushrooms, and carrying 
away the earth which contains it. The debris of a former mushroom 
bed will always furnish spawn for a new. 



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AOARICl.'S EXQIIISJTIiS V. A Dr.llClOSUS 



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DESCRIPTION OP SPECIES. 87 

AGARICUS EXQUISITUS, «o*. 

Plate VI. 
Section Psaliota, Fries. Subdivision Pratella, ibid. 



Agabicus Qeobgu^ Withering. 



«^<^x<s/>^^v»o<>/^^^»^^ 



" L'Agarioo exquiiaito e nn fiingo aaiio oltremodo delicuto e di fadlisaima 
digestione." — VUt, 

" Its flavour is far inferior to tliat of tbe common mushroom." — Berkelej/, 

This fungus called also the Horse Mushroom, from the «iOTmous 
dimensions* to which it sometimes attains, is for the most part shunned 
by the English epicure ; it is also this species from which many persons 
report themselves to have suffered indigestion attended with violent 
cholicky pains, when they have eaten it by mistake for the A^. campeatris. 
It is sold under the name of white-caps for making ketchup, but not- 
withstanding its foreign name and reputation, most persons will agree 
with Mr. Berkeley, in holding both its flesh and its juices as greatly 
inferior to those of the J^. campestris. Our other name for it that of 
St. George's Agaric, can have no reference to the time of its appearance, 
as it is seldom met with in England, till after that Saint's day ; it has 
moreover the same name in Hungary, where the inhabitants look upon 
it as a special gift from Samt George. 

Its botaiucal characters are the following : — 

Pileus at first conico*campanulate, covered with floccose shreds, which 
are very fugacious ; when fiilly expanded minutely squamulose, of a 
beautiful white, shining and smooth ; turning yellow when bruised, and 
sometimes exuding a yellow juice. (Sibthorpe.) Gills numerous, broad, 
attenuated both ways, but most so behind, free, of a pallid hue, (grey 

* " Hopkirk records an instance of one weighing five pounds six ounces, and measuring 
forty-three indies in circumference. Withering mentions another that weighed fourteen 
pounds." — Berkeley. 



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88 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OP ENGLAND. 

flesh-colour)» during the growth of the fungus ; later, clouded brown- 
black ; the imperfect gills obtuse behind. Stem long, sub-cylmdrical 
slightly thickened at the base, white without, stuffed within. Binff 
tumid and reflected over the stalk. FlesA of both pileus and stalk 
compact, fibrous, and fragile. Flavour and smell strong, and according 
to Vittadini, agreeable, but according to English perception generally 
the reverse. Fersoon pronounces this fungus to be superior to the 
common mushroom, in smell, taste, and digestibility, on which accounts, 
he says, it is generally preferred in France. It is to be cooked in the same 
way as that« and if eaten in moderation, will seldom be found to incom- 
mode the stomach or offend the palate. 

Locality — ^Pastures, amidst thickets, under trees, generally in large 
rings, reproducing itself every year in the same situations. 



AGARICUS DILICIOSUS. 

Plate VII. 
Oran^/e Milk Agaric. 
Subgenus Galorrheus. 



Bot. Char. Gregarious, Pileus from three to four inches across ; colour 
dull, orange rufous, fi^uently zoned with concentric circles of a brighter 
hue, fleshy, firm, frdl of red orange nulk, which turns green on exposure 
to the air, (as does the whole plant when bruised ;) the margin at first 
involute and downy, then expanded, afterwards depressed ; giUa decur* 
rent, forked at the base, always of the same colour as the pileus, rather 
distant, substantial ; stem from two to three inches high, slightly bent, 
stuffed in part, scrobiculate («. e. marked with little superficial pits) ; at 
the base strigose (t. e. covered with short pointed hairs.) 



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1 BOLETUS SCABZR. 2 . BOLETUS LURSWS^^ ^V 



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DESCRIPTION OF SPECIES. 89 

This is one of the best Agarics with which I am acquainted ; fully 
deserving both its name and the estimation in which it is held abroad. 
Its flesh is firm, juicy, sapid, and nutritious.- It grows under old Scotch 
firs and pines, and occasionally in considerable abundance, and is well 
worth the trouble of searching for from September, to the beginning of 
November, when it is in season. There is but one fungus which it in 
any way resembles, and as that one {Aff. torminoms)^ is acrid and 
poisonous, the gatherer must pay particular attention to liie following 
characteristic diflTerence between the two, viz. ; — that the milk of the 
Jff. deliciosus is red and subaequentty turns green^ while that of the 
Ag, torminosua is white and unchangeable. 

Mr. Sowerby thus speaks in praise of this species: — "I had one 
dressed ; it was very luscious eating, full of rich gravy, with a little of 
the flavour of muscles." 

Sir James Smith, in his ' Tour," says " The market of Marseilles 
exhibited a prodigious quantity of Ag. delicioms, which really deserves 
its name, being the most delicious mushroom known." 

The Agaricua deliciosus may be served with a white sauce, or fried ; 
but the best way to cook them, after duly seasoning with pepper and salt, 
and putting a piece of butter upon each, is to bake (in a closely-covered 
pie-dish) for about three quarters of an hour. 



BOLETUS SCABER, JFHe,, 

Plate VII. 

"Pungo innocente e che noD puo cagionai*e alcim danno non molto 
ricercato a motivo senza dubbio del cambiamento di colore in cui va sog- 
getto la sua came allorche viene rotta o compressa." — FUt. 

Box. Chae. This fungus presents itself under two distinct forms ; in the 
first, the B. aurantiacm of Bull., the pileus (generally rather downy, but 
sometimes rough), is of a beautiful deep orange hue ; in the other it is 
cinereous. 

N 

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90 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OF ENGLAND. 

In both cases its shape is that of a hemisphere of from three to seven 
inches across, the surface of which becomes viscid when moist, and is 
minutely downy. In the fifst variety the stem is rough with black, in 
the second with orange scales. 

Half a foot is its average height ; it is attenuated upwards. While 
young it is very thick in proportion to the pileus ; and exhibits frequently 
the traces of a floccose veil. The flesh is thick, and flabby ; of a dingy 
white, not greatly changeable in young specimens, but deepening in 
colour when old, and acquiring a vinous tint ;* the tubes are of a dirty 
white, those that surround the stem being shorter than the rest. 

The odour of this fungus is slight ; the taste subacid ; the seminal 
dust copious ; and tawny ferruginous. It may be cooked like the B. 
edulisy and has an agreeable flavour ; but being more viscid in substance, 
it requires when stewed to be thinned with water : when dried, it loses 
all odour, and is then insipid and unfit for food. 



BOLETUS LURIDUS, 

Plate VII. 

Nothing can be more accurate than Mr. Berkeley's description of this 
species, which I therefore subjoin. " Woods. Summer and autumn. 
Common. Filetcs two to six inches broad, convex, expanded, minutely 

tomentose, olive, brick-red, pinkish, cream-coloured, or ferruginous- 
brown ; Jlesh more or less yellow, changing to blue.f Tubes free, yellow 

* " It is commonly supposed ttat such funguses as ctange colour afford thereby a clear 
evidence of their noxious properties, and yet daily experience, as far as it went, ought to 
have led to just the opposite conclusion. Almost all the poisonous Agarics have a flesh 
that does not change colour, and we know as yet of no Boletus, many of which do so 
change, that is really unsafe to eat." — Fitt, 

t This blue loses much of its intensity by long exposure to the air ; it is moreover to 
be remarked, that in specimens, the flesh of which has been eaten into by slugs or insects, 
no change of colour takes place. 



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A fi::ks j>:^::-U3 2. a ijK"i-or[!iLUS 3 A oreads: 



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DESCRIPTION OF SPECIES. 01 

or greenish ; their orifices of a beautiful red, or bright orange, quite 
simple, round. Spores olivaceous-ochre. Stetn very variable in length, 
bulbous, tomentose, sometimes quite smooth, red with ferruginous or the 
biightest yellow shades, solid generally more or less marked or reticulated 
with crimson-red, very deleterious^ (? *) 



AGARICUS PERSONATUS, 

Plate VIII. 

Subgenus Tricholoma, FrieB. 

Blewitf8. 

I NEVER met with this fungus in Italy ; it has not been described by 
Vittadini, nor, that I am aware of, by any Italian mycologist ; neither is 
it mentioned by Cordier or Roques, in their treatises on the esculent 
funguses of France. Extremely common in England, this species has 
already found its way to Covent Grarden, where, according to Sowerby, 
it is sold under the name of * Blewitt's.f The favourite haunt of the 
Blewitt is amidst grass, where it grows in clusters, or in large rings, 
seldom appearing before October. 

The botanical characters, as given by Mr. Berkeley, are as follows : — 
" Pileus from two to six inches broad, fleshy, firm ; pale bistre or purple 
lilac, occasionally violet ; convex, obtuse, very smooth, and shining, as if 
oiled, but not viscid; margin involute, pulverulento-tomentose. Gilk 
rounded ; free, narrow in front, paler than the pileus, sometimes violet, 
turning to a dirty flesh colour, especially when bruised ; stent from one 
to three inches high, three quarters of an ^ae|r thick, firm, bulbous, solid, 

* This requires further corroboration. 

t Sc. * Blue Hats ' ? as Ag, Qeorgii is called • White Caps/ and Jg. Oreades, * Scotch 
Bonnets.* 

n2 



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9^ ESCULENT FUNGUSES OF ENGLAND. 

mottled within towards the apex, with watery spots ; clothed more or less 
with villous fibrilte, tinged with violet ; odour like that of OreadeSy but 
rather overpowering ; taste pleasant." As the * Blewitt * is apt to imbibe 
in wet weather a great quantity of moisture, it should not be gathered 
during rain; when not watersoaked it is a fine, firm fungus with a 
flavour of veal, like which it is to be dressed en papillottes with savoury 
herbs, and the usual condiments, and the more highly seasoned the 
better. 



AGARICUS OREADES, i9o//. 

Plate VITI. 

Subgenus Clytocybe. Section Scortei, Fries. 
Scotch Bonnets. 



Everyone knows the Champignon, — ^that little buflF fungus which during 
so many months in the year comes up in successive crops, in great pro- 
fusion after rain, and generally in rings. These Champignons abound 
everywhere: this summer Hyde Park was full of thera, — amid the 
seared and much trodden grass they were continually tracing their fairy 
rings, and in some instances they reached the very border of the gravel 
walks. Independent of the excellent flavour of this little mushroom, 
which is as good as that of most funguses, two circumstances give it an 
additional value in a domestic point of view, viz. — ^the facility with which 
it is dried, and its very extensive dissemination. When dried (two or 
three days' exposure to the air is generally sufficient to effect this), the 
Jff. Oreades may be kept for years without losing any of its aroma or 
goodness, which on the contrary become improved by the process, so as 
in fact, to impart more flavour to the dish than would have been im- 
parted by the fresh fungus ; though it is not to be denied that the flesh 



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DESCRIPTION OF SPECIES. 93 

then becomes coriaceous and less easy of digestion.* From the sad 
accidents occasioned by persons mistaking other small and poisonous 
Agarics growing in the neighbourhood of the Champignon for the Cham- 
pignon itself, this species is frequently looked upon with suspicion, and 
not often eaten in England. The Agaric, the least unlike, and most 
commonly found growing in company with the Ag. Oreades, is the 
Jff, semifflobatu8, which is nearly allied to, if it be not the same as the 
Jg. virosua of Sowerby. But as I have also heard of a gentleman, who 
intending to gather Champignons, took home some Jff. dryophyllm by 
mistake, and was rendered very ill by his repast, to prevent the recur- 
rence of such mistakes for the future, I have given in the same plate 
with Ag, Oreades drawings of both these poisonous funguses to which I 
here add the botanical characters, marking what is peculiar to each in 
italics, and confronting them for the greater facility of reference in three 
parallel columns. 

Ao. DRYOPHYLLUS. Ao. OREADES. Ag. SEMIGLOBATUS. 

Solitary or tufted. Pflens from In dense rings, or gregarioos. Pilens hemispherical, m/ru/ when 

one to two inches broad, whitish, PQens smooth, flethjf, convex, moist, thining and smooth as if 

pinkish, 7enowi8h,or yellow brown, sui-imbonate, generally more or varnished, obtnse, fleshy. Gills rery 

flat, sometimes deprened, fleshy, leu compressed, or sinuate', tough, broad, ^(ecHj horizontal to the 

thin, fragile, when moist easily coriaceons, elastic, vmnkled, when stem, broadly adnate, with a little 

injured, of a tongher substance water-soaked brown, buff ox cream- tooth, minutely serrated, mottled 

when dry. OiUs soft, tender, nu- colour when dry ; the umbo often with purple brown sporuks. Stalk 

merous, white, or pale yellow straw- remaining red brown as if scorch- very viscid, shining when dry with 

c(Jour. Stem shining, hollow, of ed. Gills ^wton/, ventricose, of the a closely matted silkiness; Jistu- 

the same colour as the pileus, but eame tint as the pUeus or paler, lose, sometimes bulbous, with a 

towards the apex generally darker Stem equal, solid, twisted, very hollow bulb, ring generally com- 

and of a redder tinge. tough and fibrous, pure, silky, plete, reflexed, often dusted with 

white, base downy, somewhat root- the dark coloured spores. 

ing and attached to the roots of 
grass.t 



* This mushroom famous for the flavour it imparts to rich soups and gravies, is also 
used in the French ^ la mode beef-shops in London, with the view of heightening the 
flavour of that dish ; as the aroma is dissipated by over cooking, it should be thrown in 
only a few minutes before serving. The dried Champignon is much more extensively 
used in France and Italy than it is in England. 

t Although the Ag, 0reade9 be properly speaking a terrestial and not a parasitical 
fungus, still as it springs up amidst the roots of the grasses and flourishes by depriving them 
of their supplies, the herbage in its neighbourhood is the first to scorch up and wither. 



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94 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OF ENGLAND. 

AGARICUS NEBULARIS, 

Plate IX. 
Subgenus Clitoctbe. Section Dastphylli, Fries. 

Ag. pileolaeius, BuUiard, 

" n est trfes agr&ible au gout.'* — BulUard, 

The " New Cheese " Agaric, which is the trivial name of this species, 
is mentioned by Mr. Berkeley as rare ; — ^perhaps for no better reason 
than because it is so seldom sought after. The following description 
was made from some among the more characteristic specimens of a large 
supply which I gathered this autumn near Hayes, from a spot where 
they are in the habit of re-appearing regularly in October. 

PUetis from two and a half to five inches across ; at first depresso- 
convex ; when expanded nearly flat or broadly subumbonate, never de- 
pressed, margin at first involute and pruinose ; occasionally somewhat 
waved and lobed, but generally regular in form ) smooth, viscid when 
moist, so that dead leaves adhere to it ; grey, brown at the centre, paler 
towards the circumference. Flesh thick, white, unchanging ; yills cream- 
colour, narrow, decurrent, close, their margins waved, unequal, generally 
simple. Stem from two to four inches long, from a quarter of an inch to 
an inch thick ; incurved at the base, not rooting, but attaching by means 
of a floccose down, round its lower portion and for one third of its 
length, a large quantity of dead leaves by which the plant is held erect ; 
sub-equal, more or less marked with longitudinal pits, firm externally, 
within of a softer substance. The odour strong, like that of curd cheese. 

This Agaric appears to be local in Italy ; otherwise it could scarcely 
have been omitted in Vittadini's work, nor by the author of the article 
* Fungo ' in the Venice edition of the ' Diz. Classico di Medecina i add 
to which that I have never met vrith it myself either at Florence, Pisa, 



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I AOARiCirS UEBULARI5 2 CANTHARELLUS rfj^lfigi^iCjiOOQle 



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DESCEIPTION OP SPECIES. 95 

Naples or Leghorn. That it grows in the neighbourhood of Rome is 
certain, since I find it admirably delineated in a curious collection of very 
old drawings which I purchased there. Moreover Professor Sanguinetti 
of that city, writes in terms of high commendation of this mushroom, 
which he says, may be discerned inter alia, " by its peculiar odour and 
grateftd taste : when properly cooked it is equal to any of our funguses, 
rivalling not only the Ay. prunulua, but even the Casareus : as few are 
aware of its good qualities, it seldom finds its way into the Roman 
market." The Jy. nebtdaris requires but little cooking ; a few minutes 
broiling ^ la Maintenon is best), with butter, pepper, and salt, is suffi- 
cient. It may also be delicately fried with bread crumbs, or stewed in 
white sauce. The flesh of this mushroom is perhaps lighter of digestion 
than that of any other. 



CANTHARELLUS CIBARIUS, 

Plate IX. 
Tribe Mesopus. Subdivision Aoaricini, Friea, 

" Sunt qui hunc pemiciosuin scripsere. Verum etiam latranti stomacho 
eum comedi ; atque ex eo pulmenta parantur quse si aridis mortuorum 
oribus admoveantur peream ni reviviscerent ! " — Batt, 

" Jure inter sapidissimos fungos numeratur." — Fries. 

No fungus is more popular than the above, though the merits, — nay, the 
very existence of such a fimgus at home is confined to the Freemasons 
who keep the secret ! Having collected a quantity at Tunbridge Wells, 
this summer, and given them to the cook at the Calverley Hotel to dress, 
I learnt from the waiter, that they were not novelties to him ; that in 
fact, he had been in the habit of dressing them for years, on state 
occasions, at the Freemasons* Tavern, They were generally fetched, so 
he said, from the neighbourhood of Chelmsford, and were always well 
paid for. Of the CanthareUus this summer, the supplies were immense ! 



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96 ESClfLENT FUNGUSES OF ENGLAND. 

the moss under the beech trees in Burkhurst Park in particular, was so 
lavish of them, that a hamper might soon have been filled, had there 
been hands to gather them. On revisiting the same park about five 
weeks later, they were still continuing to come up, but in less abundance. 

The botanical characters of the CanthareUus are as foUow : — 

When young its stalk is tough, white, and soUd ; but as it grows this 
becomes hollow and presently changes to yellow ; tapering below, it is 
effiised into the substance of the pileus, which is of the same colour with 
it. The pilem is lobed, and irregular in shape, its margin at first deeply 
involute, afterwards when expanded, wavy. The veins or plaits are thick, 
sub-distant, much sinuated, running some way down the stalk. The 
^esA is white, fibrous, dense, " having the odour of Apricots " (Purton), or 
of ** Plums" (Vitt.). The colour yellow, that of the yolk of eggs, is 
deeper on the under surface; when raw it has the pungent taste of 
pepper ; the spores which are elliptic, are of a pallid ochre colour (Vitt.).* 
The Chantarelle grows sometimes sporadically, sometimes in circles or 
segments of a circle, and may be found from June to October. At first 
it assumes the shape of a minute cone ; next, in consequence of the rolling 
in of the margin, the pileus is almost spherical, but as this unfolds, it 
becomes hemispherical, then flat, at length irregular and depressed. 

" This fungus," observes Vittadini, " being rather dry and tough by 
nature, requires a considerable quantity of fluid sauce to cook it pro- 
perly. The common people in Italy dry or pickle, or keep it in oil for 
winter use. Perhaps the best ways of dressing the CanthareUus are to 
stew or mince it by itself, or to combine it with meat or with other fun- 
guses. It requires to be gently stewed and a long time to make it 
tender ; but by soaking it in milk the night before, less cooking will be 
requisite. 

The Canth, cibarim is very abundant about Rome, where it fetches, 
not being in great esteem, from two-pence to two-pence half-penny a 
pound. 

* I have, however, found them wUte, 

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DESCRIPTION OF SPECIES. 97 

AGARICUS ATRAMENTARIUS, J?^.//. 

Plate X. 
Subgenus Coprinus, Fries. 



BoT. Char. Pilem fleshy, campanulate, margin uneven, colour greyish, 
then light brown, slightly hairy, often corrugated, sometimes scaly in 
the centre. GiUs numerous, deep, with clear veins, light brown, the 
edges grey or white, free, obtuse behind. Stem about four inches high, 
swollen at the base, piped, juicy, fibrous, marked with bands. 

This is a common fungus in gardens, waste comers of fields, and lanes, 
and occasionally growing on stumps of trees in such situations : it is 
gregarious, and caespitose, and occurs both in spring and autumn. 
Young specimens afibrd a fine ketchup. 



AGARICUS COMATUS. 

Plate X. 
Subgenus Coprinus, Fries. 



" A fungus in great request about Via Beggio and Lucca.*' — Pucchielli. 

BoT. Char. Pileus cylindrical, breaking up into long scales, campanulate, 
epidermis thin, flesh thick in the centre, very thin and stringy at the 
margins. GiUs numerous, quite free, leaving a space round the top of 
the stem. Stem from four to five inches high, rather bulbous at the 
base, stuffed with fibres, brittle, ring moveable. 

This fungus may be found from early spring, till late in the autumn, 
in meadows and waste places. 

When used for making ketchup or for the table, only young specimens 
should be selected. 



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98 ESCULtNT FUNdVSES OF ENGLAND. 

AGARICUS HETEROPHYLLUS, JW>*. 

Plate X. 
Subgenus Russula, Scopoli, 
Mild JRus^ula, JRussula mifes, auct. 



** Non meno sicuro e gustoso del Ccesareo e del Porcino." — Fiti, 

It is of the utmost importance that those who gather funguses for the 
table, should be accurately acquainted with the diflferent species com- 
posing this genus ; its members are so abundantly distributed ; some of 
them form so excellent and delicate a food, whilst others produce such 
deleterious eflFects on the economy, that they are well entitled to a 
diligent and careful attention. The Umits of this work will not permit 
an accurate discrimination of all the species which would^require a long 
monograph to themselves, but I have endeavoured to point out amidst 
those of most frequent occurrence, the three which may be selected 
with profit for the table, and some others which are nearly allied, from 
which we must be careful to separate them. 

The three mild-flavoured JRmstda are the J^, heterophyllusy Ag, ruber 
and Ag, virescens ; the botanical characters of the first are as follows : — 

Ag. UeteropUyllm. 

f ileus sub-irregular, from three and a half to four and a half inches 
across, at first convex, then more or less excavated towards the centre ; 
for the most part smooth, the epidermis covering it, more or less moist, 
never scored or fissured, but exhibiting a continuous surface, marked 
by very small raised lines, radiating as from the centre, and frequently 
crossing so as to present a very mmute finely reticulated meshwork, 
sometimes shghtly zoned, adhering to the flesh of the pileus, which 
peels away with it in flakes resembling asbestos. It is very various 



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DESCRIPTION OF SPECIES. 99 

in colour, being found of all shades of yellow, lilac, azure, green, 
and sometimes a mixture of these in different parts. The margin 
even, i. e. not striate, irregularly elevated and depressed. The gilh 
are watery white, rather numerous and thick, ascending, tapering away 
at their stalk extremity, rather broader at the other, some simple but 
many of them forked at the base, in a few instances branched ; the im- 
perfect gills very few, irregular, occasionally broadly adhering to the side 
of a perfect gill ; the %talh naked, variable as to length and size, equal or 
attenuated sUghtly at the base, white, like spermaceti, externally rugulose, 
and meshed like the pileus, with minute meandering lines, internally 
stuffed with a compact subfriable medullary substance, which as the 
fungus grows old, breaks up here and there into sinuses which gradually 
coalesce, till at last the whole stem becomes hollow. The parenchyma is 
compact, but not thick, and does not change colour when cut. The 
spores white, round, and very abundant. The taste sweet and nutty. 
Odour none. * 

This excellent fungus, which Vittadini pronounces to be not sur^ 
passed for fineness of flavour by Am. casarea or by B. edtdis, with either 
of which it is equally wholesome, has been introduced by Roques into 
the houses of many of his friends in the environs of Paris, some of 
whom prefer it to Jy. carnpestris: an opinion shared by several of 
our own friends on this side the channel. It grows in great abun- 
dance during the summer months generally, and this year nowhere more 
plentifully than under the Elm trees in Kensington Gardens. There must 
be no delay in dressing it, otherwise, insects who are as fond of it as we 
are, appropriate it to their larvae, which in a few hours will utterly con- 
sume it; the flesh being very tender, requires but slight cooking. 



o2 

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100 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OF ENGLAND. 

Agaricm rubefy SchoeflTer. Aff, grisem, Persoon. 
" L'Agarico Rosso e uno dei funghi piu delicate e gustosi che si conoscono." — VUt. 

Bot. Char, Pileus rather fleshy, at first hemispherical, then obtusely 
convex, and when fully expanded, more or less excavated towards the 
centre. The margins at first even, at length tuberculo-sulcate, that is, 
marked with lines, similar to those left on the skin after cupping. The 
epidermis dry in dry weather, but very sticky in moist, of various hues, 
tawny purple, olive-green, ochraceous yellow, or several of these united, 
and generally darkest at the centre ; peeling oflF readily without laceration 
of the flesh. The flesh white, when cut sUghtly rufescent, when dry cream- 
coloured. The ffilh fragile, cream-coloured, connected below by trans- 
verse plaits or veins, thick and broad, but tapering away towards the 
stalk, really simple, though a few imperfect gills interposed between the 
entire ones, and attaching themselves to their sides give these sometimes 
the appearance of being forked; the stcdk equal, white, or blotched 
here and there with purple stains, stuffed, brittle, and Vittadini adds, 
" long ", which is not my experience of it ; when young it is so short as 
to be entirely hid by the globose head of the unexpanded pileus. The 
flesh inconsiderable but compact ; sporules pale buff'. 

The Jg, ruder, the Colomha rossa of the Tuscans, and Bother Taubling 
of SchoeflFer, is a complete «w?orf-pigeon in its haunts ; it grows very 
abundantly, may be gathered from July to a very late period in the 
autumn, and is as deUcate and light of digestion as the Russula last 
described. It may be readily distinguished from Ag. ahtacem by the 
different colour of its gills and spores, which in that species are buff, 
but in the Ag. ruber cream-cdoured : moreover the greater thickness 
of the substance of the pileus of Ag. alutaceus, the margin of which is 
deeply sulcate, even at an early period of its developement, and the 
pungent acrid taste, which is seldom wanting, are further means of 
distinguishing it from Ag. ruber. Ag. emeticm differs from it in having 
unequal snow-white gills, and in extreme acrimony of taste. 



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DESCRIPTION OP SPECIES. 101 

AgofTicMB virescens, SchoeflF. : the Verdette ? Jff. difidus, Bull. 
Rusmla eruginosa^ Persoon. 

" La came di questo Agarico e tenera e di saporii gratissimo." — Viti, 

Pilem at first flatly convex ; at length depressed towards the centre 
with an even margin ; epidermis whitish, fibrous, continuous and firmly 
adhering to the flesh, dry, but coated over with a thick stratum 
of opake meal, which gradually breaking as the pileus expands maps it 
in a singular and quite characteristic manner with a series of irregular 
polygonal figures, in greater or less relief according to the thickness of 
the coating ; its colour varies slightly but is generally made up of some 
admixture of green and yellow communicating to the surface, as Bulliard 
has remarked, a farinaceous or mouldy appearance. The gilh of some 
thickness, very brittle, white, sub-lanceolate, generally simple, but occa- 
sionally forked, the imperfect gills interspersed without order amongst 
the entire ones ; the stalk equal, short, its centre stuffed with cottony 
fibres : somewhat compact and elastic. According to Thore, as quoted 
by Persoon, this Agaric may be cultivated.* 

It is an exceedingly deUcate fungus, but not very common in England. 
The best way of cooking it, according to Vittadini, is on the gridiron ; 
the peasants about Milan are in the habit of putting it over wood 
embers to toast, eating it afterwards with a httle salt, in which way it 
has a savoury smell, and a taste like that of the Cancer astacus ; when 
fresh it is without odour, but acquires a very strong one while drying 
which he compares to that of salt meat. Mr. Berkeley quotes Roques' 
authority as to its being eaten in France ; Vittadini, without giving any 
authority, states that it is eaten in England. It loses but little of its 
volume in drying. 



* *' Dans le departement des Landes on seme TAgaricns Palomet. Pour cela on se con- 
tente d'arroBer la terre d'un bosquet plants en chines avec de Teau dans laquelle on a fait 
bouOlir une grande quantity de ces champignons; la culture n'exige d'autre soins que 
d'eloigner de ces lieux les chevaux les pores et les betes a comes qui sont trds friandes de 
ces plantes ; ce moyen r^ussit toujours, mais nous laissons aux physidens a nous expliquer 
pourquoi I'ebullition n'a pas fait mourir les germes'" — Thore, 



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102 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OP ENGLAND. 

ACRID RUSSULiE. RUSSUL^E ACRES, met 

Jgaricm alutacem, Persoon. 

Theee acrid Rusaula remain to be described Jy. alutaceus, Jg, emeticusy 
Ag. Banguineus \ all three common, though not perhaps so common as the 
mild ones, and all to be avoided. The first A, alutacetiSy Fries, is ranked 
by Vittadini, among the safe kinds, he even aflSxes a mis-placed note of 
admiration after his epithet " esculentus ! " and describes it even when 
raw as " a dainty food possessed of a most agreeable flavour." 

Mr. Berkeley, who reports it esculent when young y remarks that indi- 
vidual specimens occur, which prove almost as acrid as the Ag. emeticus 
itself; my own experience of it in England, is that whether young or old, 
it is always acrid when raw *. I have never tried it dressed, which 
might possibly extract its noxious qualities, as Vittadini reports to have 
been the case with a caustic variety which he subjected to this test ; 
but since even then, on his own showing, it proved indigestible, I would 
advise no one to try this species, especially when there are so many others, 
the good quahties of which are known. 

It is easy to distinguish A. alutacem from any of the foregoing species ; 
to do this it is only necessary to look at the gills, which in place of being, 
as in these, white, watery white, or cream coloured, are of a rich buff; 
pilem about three inches broad, pink or livid oUve, smooth on the surface 
and viscid in Wet weather ; the margin at first even, but in age striate ; 
the gills broad, equal, slightly forked, ventricose, free, connected by veins; 
the ^orules rich buff; the stem one and a half inches long, blunt, surface 
longitudinally wrinkled or grooved, solid without, spongy within, varying 
from white to buff. 



* The reader must not conclude from this that soil, any more than that age will account 
for such differences, there is ^variety diAg, alutaceus, described by Vittadini, which he says 
is " endowed with a very caustic taste, smelling of pepper, and to be avoided ;" the kind 
generally found in England is probably the same as this which Bulliard has described 
imder the name of Jy. alutacem acris. 



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DESCRIPTION OF SPECIES. 103 

Agaricus emetictiSy (SchoeflFer.) 

Reports concerning the qualities of this fungus differ widely, some 
asserting it to be a most deleterious species, of which the mischief was not 
to be removed by cooking, whilst others, on the authority of dogs whom 
they persuaded to eat some, pronounced it innoxious ; — in this state of 
uncertainty Vittadini for the sake of science, and peradventure of adven- 
ture also, determined to test its effects upon himself; he had previously 
given at different times large doses, of from six to twelve ounces, to dogs 
both in the crude state, and also cooked ; but without result. " Still," 
says he, " thinking that dogs might eat Ag. emeticus with impunity, it 
might yet prove injurious to man *, I took five specimens of fair dimen- 
sions, and having fried, I ate them, with the usual condiments ; but 
though pains were taken to have them dehcately prepared, (ottimamente 
cucinati,) they still retained their acrid bitter taste, and were most dis- 
tasteful to the palate ". The reader will be glad to learn, that the only 
inconvenience suffered by this bold self-experimentalist, was a shght sense 
of prsecordial uneasiness, accompanied with flatulence; effects attri- 
butable entirely as he believed to the rich mode in which hLs dish was 
prepared : though more timid apparently for others safety than his own, 
he particularly adds, " though I have clearly established to my own satis- 
faction, the complete innocuousness of the A, emeticus ; still as there are, 
or are said to be, other Russula of highly deleterious properties and 
closely allied, the mistaking which for it might be paid by the loss of 
life, the safer rule is to abstain from all such as have acrid juices." 
The botanical characters of Ag. emeticus are as follow : — 
Fileus more or less rosy, flesh compact, margin striate, epidermis 
adherent ; gills very brittle, arched in front, attenuated towards the stalk, 
connected below by transverse plaits, generally simple, a few forked, 
the imperfect gills rounded off behind ; the stalk, which is compact, of 
equal dimensions, and white, is generally more or less stained with red 

* Sospettando raggionevolmente dietro le esperienze del Krapf e del Iloques,che questo 
fungo, potesse esser nocivo al uomo e no agli animali ho yoluto anch'io sperimentarlo su di 
mi stesso. — FUt, 



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104 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OF ENGLAND. 

spots of the same hue as the pileus ; in the growing fungus where the 
epidermis has been removed, and the flesh eaten by insects, this soon 
acquires a tint as Uvely as that of the skin itself; generally, I have re- 
marked that the erosions of insects and slugs do not produce any change 
of colour, even in the species notorious under other circumstances for 
manifesting such a change ; thus the flesh of Ay, mbeacens which turns 
red when it is divided may be frequently seen half eaten through, exhi- 
biting a white flesh ; and the same is the case with the Boletus luridtis, 
the flesh of which though eroded, remains white till it is broken through. 



Ay. sanpcineus, Bull. 

This fungus, of which the general facies, ajid most of the botanical cha- 
racters as well as the taste and other qualities are similar to those of the 
last mentioned Agaric, differs from it in having its gills for the most part 
forked, many smaller ones being interposed between those that are entbe, 
also in not having its margin striate, as the Ay, emeticus when moderately 
expanded always has. The smell of this fungus, which is only developed 
in drying, is, according to Vittadini, " most agreeable " resembling that 
of fresh meal ; to me its odour is unpleasant and like that of sour paste. 

Ay. acris minor. 

Pileus one or two inches across, sticky, of a light muddy pink, the 
epidermis peeUng off easily, and entire from the flesh, margin not striate, 
flesh soft, white and cellular ; yills adnate, white, forked, brittle, slightly 
ventricose ; the margin sub-denticulate ; the stalk of spermaceti white- 
ness and appearance, solid within, brittle, the internal texture looser than 
the external; the surface minutely rugulose, IJ-l^ inch, by 2-4 Unes 
thick, intensely acrid. In meadows, throughout the summer ; abundant. 



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Leonjcc8.di»l lieeveai^ 

AG-ARICUS OSTREATUSaiLcivarb. 



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DESCRIPTION OF SPECIES. 105 

AGARICUS OSTREATUS, /^c;?. 

Plate XL 

Subgenus Pleuropus, Persoon. 
Subdivision Concharia, Fries. 



" L'Ag. ostreato viene justamente per la sua bonta ed innocenza amesso 
tra i fuDghi commestibile de 'quale e pure permessa la venditta sulle pub- 
blichi Piazzi."— rtY^. 

BoT. Char. Caespitose.* Pilem fleshy, smooth, blackish, then cinerous, 
at length paler ; epidermis strongly adherent, flesh fibrous, moderately 
firm ; giUs anastomosing behind, not glandular, white ; stern sub-lateral 
or wanting. On dead trees. f Season, spring and autumn. 

As there are some singular difierences presented by this fungus in 
regard to developement, odour, taste, and the colour of the spores, which 
seem almost sufficient to entitle it to be divided into two distinct species, 
I shaQ first describe the more ordinary form as given by Mr. Berkeley, 
and then mention the variations firom it, as exhibited in the specimens 
represented in the accompanying plate. 

" Imbricated, large ; pileus sub-dimidiate, very thick and fleshy \ flesh 
white, dusky towards the surface ; one inch deep, the border at first 
fibrillose; margin involute, as the pileus expands the white fibrilte 
vanish, and the colour changes to bistre ; margin paler and rimulose, the 
whole surface shining and satiny when dry, soft and clammy when moist; 
gills broad, here and there forked," { standing out sharp and erect like the 
fine fiutings of a column, winding down the stalk to different lengths, 

* I lately found a fine migle specimen of it, which Vittadini says is rare, 
t On the poplar and willow, according to Vittadini; apple and laburnum, on the 
authority of Berkeley ; elm and ash, on my own. 

\ In some specimens the gills are all solitary. 

P 



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106 ESCULENT FUNOUajBS OF ENGLAND. 

and those that reach the bottom forming there a beautiful raised mesh- 
work highly characteristic of this species, " dirty, (pure ?) white, the edge 
serrated, umber; taste Bnd smell like that of Ay.persondtus which it 
resembles somewhat in colour "; " spores white like those of the Poly- 
poms suaveolens ".* The drawings of the Jy. ostreatus figured in the 
plate, were taken from specimens growing on an elm stimip, which re- 
produced them frequently; the points in which these differed from the 
more ordinary type were as follows : — first, though they grow close toge- 
ther and were all equally exposed to the light, the colour of all at the 
same period of growth was not the same, being a dehcate waxy white in 
some of the specimens, in others, a light brown. Secondly, whereas this 
fungus is generally "invested during infancy with a white lanugo or doum'^\y 
here I observed the young Agarics, which presented themselves at first 
as small semi-transparent eminences rising irregularly from a conunon 
stalk, and not unlike in appearance the blisters on a chalcedony, were 
thickly coated with a light blue varnish in place of it ; the dry debris of 
which varnish continued to adhere to the surface of the pileus for some 
time afterwards. Thirdly, the complexion of the spores commonly des- 
cribed as white, was in these specimens pale-rose. Fourthly, they exhaled 
the strong and peculiar odour of Tarragon ; and finally, in place of being 
the dehcate fungus at table which in July I had always found it, these 
specimens afforded a distasteful food. The Jy. ostreatus resists cold in 
a remarkable manner ; the circumstance of its being found in winter has 
procured for it the trivial name of Gelon. Ay. ostreatus is found on the 
barks of many sorts of trees, and wherever it has once been it is apt to 
recur frequently afterwards. It may be dressed in any of the more usual 
ways ; but as the flesh is rather over solid and tenacious, it is all the 
better for being cooked leisurely over a slow fire. 



Vitt. t idem. 



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I ^(,AP.lf:uS i-/i.'hL^CF^TS Z MORCHEIjLA EbCULENTA. 
:^ HYIjNUM REPANUUM, 4?. FISTULINA HEPAXICA^ 



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DESCRIPTION OF SPECIES. 



107 



AGARICUS RUBESCENS, P^^oo«. 

Plate XIL 
Subgenus 1. Amanita. 



" Non altrimenti del Cesareo ddicato e sano." — FilL 

BoT. Char. Pileus covered with warts of different sizes ; margins even, 
convex, flesh turns obcurely red when cut or bruised, slightly moist and 
shining ; ffills attenuated behind ; stem at first stuffed, in age becoming 
hollow, bulbous, sometimes scaly ; rin^ wide, marked with striae ; spores 
nearly elliptical ; smell strong ; taste not unpleasant. 

This is a very dehcate fungus, which grows in sufficient abundance to 
render it of importance in a culinary point of view. It makes excellent 
ketchup. Cordier reports it as one of the most delicate mushrooms of the 
Lorraine ; and Roques speaks equally well of it. It generally grows in 
woods, particularly of oak and chesnut, both in summer and autunm. 
No fungus is more preyed upon than this by mice, snails and insects. 



MORCHELLA ESCULENTA, i>a7/. 

Plate XII. 

Tribe 3. Mitrati. 

Morell. 

" Sommamente ricercata." — FUi, 

Every one knows the Morell, that expensive luxury which the rich are 
content to procure at great cost from our Italian warehouses, and the 
poor are fain to do without. It is less generally known that this fungus 

p2 



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108 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OF ENGLAND. 

though by no means so common with us* as some others, (a circumstance 
partly attributable to the prevailing ignorance as to when and where 
to look for it, or even of its being indigenous to England*; occurs not 
unfrequently in our orchards and woods, towards the beginning of 
summer. Roques reports favom^ably of some specimens sent to him by 
the Duke of Athol ; and others, from different parts of the country, 
occasionally find their way into Covent Garden naarket. The genus 
Morchella comprises very few species and they are all good to eat. Two 
of them occur in this country ; the Morchella esculenta^ and the Mor- 
cheUa semilibera. Persoon remarks that though the Morell rarely appears 
in a sandy soil, preferring a calcareous or argillaceous ground, it frequently 
springs up on sites where charcoal has been burnt or where cinders 
have been thrown. 



Morchella esculenta, 
BoT. Char. Pilem very various in shape and hue, the surface broken 
up into little sinuses or cells, made by folds or plaits of the hymenium, 
which are more or less salient, and constitute the, so called, ribs. These 
ribs are very irregular and anastomose with each other throughout; 
the pUeus hollow, opening into the irregular hollow stem. Spores pale 
yellow. 



Morchella semilibera, 
BoT. Char. This may be known from the M, escidenta by being, as its 
name imports, half free, i. e., having the pileus for half its length detached 
from the stalk. Spores are pale yellow. Odour, at first feeble, 
becomes stronger in drying. Occurring less frequently than the last, 
and much less sapid. Neither of these funguses should be gathered 
after rain, as they are then insipid and soon spoil.f 

* A countryman last spring stumbled upon a large quantity in the neighbourhood of 
Chiselhurst, Kent, and being struck with their appearance gathered some, and took them 
to a medical man of the place, Vho not recognizing the plant, suffered the whole to perish ! 
He has since been made aware of his mistake. 

t It is a common fraud in the Italian market for the salesmen to soak them in water; 
which increases their weight, but spoils their flavour. 



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DESCRIPTION OF SPECIES. 109 

M. Roqnes says the Morell may be dressed in a variety of ways, both 
fresh and dry, with butter, or in oil, au gras or a la creme. The 
following receipts for cooking them are from Persoon. 

1st. Having washed and cleansed them from the earth which is apt 
to collect between the plaits, dry thoroughly in a napkin, and put them 
into a saucepan with pepper, salt, and parsley, adding or not a piece of 
ham ; stew for an hour, pouring in occasionally a little broth to prevent 
burning, when sufficiently done, bind with the yolks of two or three 
eggs, and serve on buttered toast. 

2nd. MoreUea a Vltalienne, — Having washed and dried, divide them 
across, put them on the fire with some parsley, scalUon, chervil, bumet, 
tarragon, chines, a little salt, and two spoonsful of fine oil. Stew till the 
juice runs out ; then thicken with a httle flour ; serve with bread crumbs 
and a squeeze of lemon. 

3rd. Stvffed MoreUs. — Choose the freshest and whitest Morells, open 
the stalk at the bottom ; wash and wipe them weU, fill with veal stuffing, 
anchovy, or any rich farce you please, securing the ends, and dressing 
between thin slices of bacon. Serve with a sauce like the last.* 



HYDNUM REPANDUM, Ze«^. 

Plate XH. 
Subgenus Mesopus, Fries, 



"The general use made of this fiingus throughout France, Italy and 
Germany leaves no doubt as to its good qualities." — Roquet, 

BoT. Char. Pileua fleshy, tawny, red, smoothly tomentose, very irregular 
in shape, from two to five inches across, lobed or undulated ; margin 

* In the Boman market the MoreU is held in little esteem, and sells for \d. or hd, 
per lb. Three varieties of the Etculenta are brought in by the ** Asparagarii," (i. e., the j- 

peasants who gather the wild Asparagus on the hills ;) viz., the Jf. rotunda, which is almost 
globose, M, vulgaris, and M.fulva, which is of a tawny colour. 



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110 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OP ENGLAND. 

vaulted, acute, wavy ; flesh white, turning yellow when cut, if bruised 
becoming brown red ; spines pale yeUow, unequal, thick-set, apices canino- 
denticulate or conical, straight or slightly ungulate ; occasionally bifid ; 
shorter and more obtuse towards the stalk, on the upper part of which they 
are somewhat decurrent, leaving small foraminules when detached ; stem 
at first white, then tawny ; two inches long, solid, of variable thickness 
(from half an inch to two inches) more or less flattened, papillated above 
with the rudiments of spines which have aborted ; spores round, white, 
taste when raw at first pleasant, but presently of a saline bitter, like 
Glauber salts, somewhat peppery, and smell like that of horse-radish. 

This fungus occurs principally in woods, and especially in those of 
pine and oak; sometimes solitary, but more frequently in company 
and in rings. In Italy, (where the spines have procured for it the name 
of " Steccherino '* or Hedge-hog,) it is brought into the market and sold 
promiscuously with the Chantarelle, to which in colour and in some other 
respects it bears a resemblance. There is no fungus with which this is 
likely to be confounded ; once seen it is recognised at a glance afterwards, 
and may be gathered fearlessly. 

According to Paulet, Persoon and Vittadini, the Syd. repandum should 
be cooked for a long time and with plenty of sauce, otherwise, being 
deficient in moisture, it is apt to become rather tough ; when well stewed 
it is an excellent dish, with a slight flavour of oysters, it makes also a 
very good puree ; Vittadini places it among the most delicate of the 
funguses of Italy. 



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DESCRIPTION OF SPECIES. Ill 

FISTULINA HEPATICA, i^ie.. 

Plate XII. 



" Fungus pauperibus esculentus." — Schoeff, 

This fungus which in the earlier stages of its developement frequently 
resembles very closely a tongue in shape, structure and general appear- 
ance, presents later a dark amorphous, grumous-looldng mass, bearing a 
still more striking likeness to liver. Thus, seen while young, and just 
beginning to bud out from the oak* its papillated surface, regular shape 
and clear fibrous flesh, make it an object of interest to many, who intro- 
duced to it at an advanced period of growth, can hardly be brought to 
believe that the blackened mishapen mass, that looks like liver, and that 
deeply stains the fingers with an unsightly red fluid, can indeed be the 
same plant. It has from the earUest recorded accounts been designated 
by names, pointing to these resemblances ; Cesalpinus caUs it Linffua ; 
Wallemb, BuglossuB quercinu8\ the vulgar name in Italy is " Lingua quer- 
cina or Lingua di castagna/' Persoon named it Boletus epaticus ; and 
Fries, Fisttdina hepaticay by which appellation it is now generally known 
amongst botanists. It constitutes a genus by itself. 
BoT. Char. Pileus confluent with the stalk : at first studded on the 
upper side with minute papillae (the rudiments of tubes), which after- 
wards disappear ; flesh succulent, fibrous, like beet-root in appearance 
with a vinous smell, and a slight acid taste ; tubes continuous with the 
fibres of the receptacle, unequal, very short, small, cylindrical, ochraceous 
rufescent ; at first with closed pores, but as they elongate they become 
patent ; colour at first a dry dusky white, afterwards a yellowish red ; 
the whole surface more or less sticky, with a gelatinous secretion exuding 

* Though the T, hepatica grows both upon oak and chesnut trees, this difference in its 
origin never perceptibly affects the plant, which is equally good, whether it be gathered 
from one or from the other. 



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112 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OP ENGLAND. 

from it ; sporidia ochraceous green, and matured at different times from 
the unequal length of the tubes. This fungus varies in size from that of 
a small kidney to an irregular mass of many pounds weight, and 
of several feet in circumference. I recently picked a specimen which 
measured nearly five feet round, and weighed upwards of eight pounds ; 
but this is nothing to one found by Mr. Graves, which, on the authority 
of Mr. Berkeley, weighed nearly thirty pounds. 

The Fistulina hepatica which Shoeffer calls the Poor Man's fungus, 
" fungus pauperibus esculentus ", deserves indeed the epithet if we 
look to its abimdance, which makes it an acquisition to the labouring class 
wherever it is known ; but that it is in any other sense fitted for the poor, 
or to be eaten by those only who can purchase no other food is what I 
cannot subscribe to. No fungus yields a richer gravy and though rather 
tough; when grilled, it is scarcely to be distinguished from broiled 
meat. The best way to dress it if old, is to stew it down for stock, 
and reject the flesh, but if young, it may be eaten in substance, plain, 
or with minced meat; in all cases its succulency is such that it 
furnishes its own sauce, which a friend of ours, well versed in the science 
of the table, declares each time he eats it to be " undeniably good." 

In England the F. hepatica grows principally on old oak trees, and 
may be found throughout the sununer in great abundance. 



AGARICUS ORCELLA*, 5e^/. 

Plate XIII. 
Section Mouceron, Fries, 



"Senza dubbio uno di migliori fungbi indigini." — Vitt, 
" Esculentus ! "— t^. 

This is a very delicate mushroom ; it grows either sohtary or in company, 
and sometimes in rings, succeeding occasionally a crop of J^, oreades 

* Whence the vernacular names, " Orgella," Orgelle,** and " Oreille." 



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AGARICUS ORCELLA. 



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DESCRIPTION OF SPECIES. 113 

and Ag, prunulua which had recently occupied the same site. Its general 
appearance, once recognised, is such as to render the mistaking it for 
any other species afterwards unlikely, whilst the least attention to its 
botanical characters makes it impossible to do so. Its irregular lobed 
pileus with smooth undulated borders, its decurrent gills, and short solid 
stem are so many particulars in which at first it might seem to resemble 
in outline the Canth, cib. : with which it has, however, nothing else in 
common. It bears a nearer general resemblance to several of the section 
Lactijlum of Persoon, but the exudation, or not, of milk would be con- 
clusive in any doubtful case, to say nothing of its peculiar smell of 
cucumber rind, or syringa leaf,* in which respect it resembles no other 
fungus. The surface is as soft and smooth to the touch as kid, except 
in wet weather, when it becomes more or less sticky ; the size, which 
does not admit of much variation, is from two to three inches across ; 
whilst young the borders are rolled inwards towards the gills, the stdk is 
in the centre, and somewhat enlarged at the base; but as the fungus 
grows the borders unroll themselves, one side grows more rapidly than 
the other, the stalk becomes, in consequence, excentric, and this excen- 
tricity is often rendered greater by a lateral twist towards the base. 
The gills which at first are white, assume later a pale salmon hue; 
Berkeley adds that " they are more or less forked, covered with very 
minute conical papillae ending in four spiculae "; those that are entire 
taper away posteriorly and terminate on the stalk, but the imperfect 
ones are rounded off midway ; the spores are elliptic, and of the colour 

of brown-hoUand.f 

This mushroom is found occasionally, throughout the summer, but 
autumn is the season to look for it, amidst the grass of woods and pas- 
tures, where it aboimds. It should be eaten the day it is gathered, 
either stewed, broiled, or fried with egg and bread crumbs hke cutlets. 

* Most authors compare this odour to that of fresh meal, but as several friends think 
with me that the above comparison is more accurate, I have ventured to substitute it. 

t Mr. Berkeley say rose-coloured ; Vittadini, pale rust colour ; but I find that on placing 
a watch-glass thickly coated with the spores on fine brown-hoDand, the colours rery 
nearly correspond. 



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114"^ ESCULENT FUNGUSES OP ENGLAND. 

When dried it loses much of its volume and acquires " a very sweet 
smell/* " un' aroma suavissimo." (Vitt.) 



HELVELLA CTSilSV Ay Fries. 
HELVELLA LACUNOSA, ^A 

Tribe MiTRATi, Fries. 

" Puo essere con vantaggio raoolta ed agli stessi usi delle spugniole destinata. — FUL 

All HelvellcB are esculent, have an agreeable odour, and bear a general 
resemblance in flavour to the MorelL The Helvetia eactdentay repre- 
sented in Plate xiv. is not, as I have been informed by Mr. Berkeley, an 
English species, but may serve for comparison ; the HelveUa criapa or 
pallid HelveUa of Scopoli and Fries which is, it seems, " not uncom- 
mon "*, and the HelveUa lacunom or cinereous HelveUa of Afeel. (on 
each of whose heads respectively Sowerby and Schoeffer place an 
inappropriate mitre), are both indigenous. They are thus succinctly but 
exceUently described by Mr. Berkeley. 



HelveUa criapa, Fries. 

BoT. Char. Pileua whitish, flesh-coloured or yeUowish, deflexed, lobed, 
free, crisped, paUid ; stem fistulose, costato-lacunose, 8-5 inches high, 
snowy white, deeply lacunose and ribbed, the ribs hoUow. 



* Berk. Brit. Fung. 



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.1 HEUv/'ELLA ESCULENTA. SBXaCuNOoA -3 POLW ~'RUS TUBflRAoTEK , 



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DESCRIPTION OP SPECIES. 115 

Helvetia lacimosay Afzel. 
Plate XIV. 

BoT. Char. Pileus inflated, lobed, cinereous,* lobes deflexed, adnate, 
stem fistulose, costato-lacunose ; stem white or dusky. 

This Helvella is not so common as the last, neither is it so sapid. 
They both grow in woods and on the stumps of old trees. Bendiscioli 
places them for, flavour, before the Morell, but this is not the generjJ 
opinion entertained of them. 



VERPA DIGITALIFORMIS, P^^oo;f. 
PEZIZA ACETABULUM, Ze;^;?. 

Tribe Cupulati. 



These funguses are very similar in their properties to the Helvella ; that 
is, are not to be despised when one cannot get better, nor to be eaten 
when one can. "The Verpa^^ says Vittadini, "though sold in the 
market is only to be recommended when no other esculent fungus 
offers, which is sometimes the case in spring.'* The Peziza acetabulum 
is utterly insipid, and depends entirely forflavour upon the sauce in 
which it is served. As they arerare in England! shall merely give the 
botanical character of each. 



Verpa digitaliformiB^ Persoon. 

TUeus campanulate, three quarters of an inch high, more or less closely 
pressed to the stem, but always free, wrinkled, but not reticulated, under 
side slightly pubescent, sporidia yellowish, elliptic, stem three inches high, 

* The lobes are at first nearly white, afterwards of an ash grey colour on the under 
surface ; the upper or that which bears the seed membrane, continuing white. 

q2 



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116 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OF ENGLAND. 

half an inch thick, equal or slightly attenuated downwards, loosely 
stuffed, by no means hollow, transversely squamulose.* Season, spring. 



Peziza acetabtdum, Linn. Series Aluriay Section Helvetia, Fries. 

BoT. Char. Deeply cup-shaped, two inches broad, one and a half deep, 
externally floccose, light umber, darker within, mouth puckered, tough ; 
stem half to one inch high, smooth, deeply but irregularly costato-lacu- 
nose, ribs solid " branching at the top and forming reticulations on the 
outside of the cup, so as to present the appearance of a cluster of pillars 
supporting a font or roof, with fret-work between them*' (Berkeley). 
Season, spring. 



POLYPORUS TUBERASTER, P^.o(m. 

Plate XIV. 



This singular fungus, which springs from the Pietra fungliaiay — a 
compact argillaceous Tufa, in which its spores are imbedded — ^is procured 
by watering a block and keeping it at a sufficiently high temperature 
(i.e. from 65-75 Farenheit), when a crop of mushrooms will come up 
in about six weeks, and continue to be produced at intervals of about 
three months. The PietrUy however, appears to lose much of its 
fecundity on being brought to a colder cUmate, and some massive blocks 
now in a friend's garden, and which were almost hid under an exube- 
rant crop of funguses when presented to me at Salerno a year and a half 
ago, have not since been productive. This fungus when it first springs 

* Another species of Peziza, tlie P. cockleata, grew very abundantly last spring in 
Holwood Pork, Keston ; tliis species is quite insipid, and somewhat leathery, but Mr. 
Berkeley has seen it offered for sale under the name of Morell. 



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DESCRIPTION OF SPECIES. 117 

up is white, afterwards tawny ; the pileus is funnel-shaped, and from 
four to five inches across ; the pores are round, the stalk coriaceous, 
and both are straw coloured. Persoon says that in smell and taste it 
exactly resembles the common mushroom, in neither of which particulars 
can I agree with him. It is more neai-ly allied in both respects to 
the Jff. Oreades, 

The P. tuberaster dries without much shrinking, and may be made to 
recover its form and dimensions by steeping it in water. The drawing 
in the plate is from a specimen thus restored. 

The Neapolitan mode of cooking it is very simple : when it has been 
cut into thin slices, and boiled several times in milk, it is then beat out 
with a flat board, and fried in oil (Persoon). 

Mons. le Comt^ de Borch relates his success in fecundating a piece 
of Tufa similar in composition to the Pietra but hitherto sterile, by 
simply pouring over it some water in which the Polyporus tuberaster 
has been steeped. " Ayant analyse la pierre j'ai reconnu que c'etait un 
tuf argilleux, car il contenait beaucoup de particules calcaires entremeles 
dans les molecules vitrifiables, je me procurai, un tuf de nature sem- 
blable, je le broyais, j'en fis une caisse au milieu de laquelle je plafais 
une de ces pierres fungiferes et pendant une quinzaine de jours j'arrosais 
cette terre qui etait mele a un tiers a peu pris de bon terreau noir du 
jardin, d'une eau dans laquelle j'avois fait laver des Champignons de la 
nature de ceux que ces pierres produisaient, et dans moins d'un mois ma 
caisse se trouva couverte de Champignons de la meme qualite." 



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118 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OP ENGLAND. 

AMANITA CMSAR^A, Fries. 

Plate XV.* 



BoT. Char. The whole plant at first included in a thin white wrapper, 
egg-shaped, attenuated doumioards.'f PUem orange-red, at first orbicular 
and subviscid, then plano-convex, and dry ; margins striate, epidermis 
thin. Lamella thick, ventricose, frequent, pale yellow, with a serrated 
border : lamellula (imperfect gills) truncated backwards. Spores white ; 
stipes subcyUndrical, more or less concolor, with lamellae, surrounded 
by a large floccose ring. Volva persistent and loose, no velum. Odour 
none, taste agreeable. Abounding in summer and autumn, principally 
in woods. 

The Amanita Casarea has not been found in England ; when it has, 
there will be time to discuss its merits, and to give receipts for its cooking. 



BOLETUS ROMANUS, ottav. 

Plate XV. 



The B. Bomanm was first described by Ottaviani, who obligingly sent 
a coloured drawing of it (fix>m which the present figure has been 
taken), and a minute description, which I have unfortunately mislaid. 
The site of this Boletus is on ground where wood has been burnt, 

* This and tlie following species, which are not found in England, have crept into our 
plate inadvertently. 

t In the Amanita vema which is also included in a wrapper, the naraow end is the 
uppermost, a distinction of importance since the e^ in the first case is full of meat, while 
in that of the vernal Amanite it is full of mischief. 



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L AMAI^ITA C^SAREA 2. BOLETUS ROMANUS 3.P0LYP0RUS FKONDOSUS . 
4 CLAYARIARUGOSA 5 C CINEPvEA. 6.LYC0PERD0N PLaMBEUK 



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DESCEIPTION OP SPECIES. 119 

and it is brought in by the ' Carbonari ' in autumn when they come 
with their charcoal to Rome. 



POLYPORUS FRONDOSUS, .yc/im;.yt. 

Plate XV. 

There are many species of Folyporua eaten on the Continent ; among 
the more common kinds to be mentioned are P.frondoaus and P. tuber- 
aster y Persoon, P. corylinm^ Mauri, P. subsqamomSy Pers., P . giganteusy 
ibid, P.fomentariuSy ibid, which last is the Amadou or German tinder 
fungus. Two of these are local ; the P. tuberaater which occurs prin- 
cipally in the kingdom of Naples, and the P. corylinus or that of the 
cob-nut tree, which (though it might perhaps be cultivated elsewhere) 
is at present restricted to Rome ; both these are excellent for food. 

As to the Polyporus squamoauSy which is as common in England as 
abroad, in substance it cannot be masticated, and its expressed juice is 
exceedingly disagreeable ; I should not think the P. fomentarius, to 
judge from its texture, promised much better : nor P.giganteus, of which 
the flesh is sometimes so tough as to creak under the knife. 

The true P. frondostiSy is probably rare in England, that which I 
have met with and have had cooked, without being able to say much in its 
favour, is the P. intybacem of Fries, which Mr. Berkeley says is distin- 
tinguished from the other by having larger pores. Vittadini has not 
included it among the esculent funguses in his work ; Persoon does not 
recommend it for weak stomachs on account of its toughness.* Pai Jet, 
indeed, is of a difierent opinion, telling us that in place of its being 
heavy for the stomach, he will feel all the hghter who sups upon it. The 
people in the Vosges seem to have an equal aflfection for it with this 

* The toughness is owing to its being stewed too quickly ; when properly sweated witll 
butter, as recommended for C coralloides, it is quite tender. 



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120 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OF ENGLAND. 

writer, giving it the somewhat whimsical, though really most graphic 
soubriquets of the Hen of the Woods, and the Breeding Hen (Mongeot). 
Professor Sanguinetti informs me that it sells for six or seven baiocchi 
in the Roman market, the finer specimens being sent as surprise pre- 
sents " per meraviglia '' from poor tenants to hard landlords. 
BoT. Char. " Pilei very numerous, dimidiate, condensed into a convex 
tuft from half a foot to a foot broad, imbricated, variously confluent, irre- 
gular, at first downy, dusky, then smooth, livid grey ; disc depressed, 
dilated above, from one half to one inch broad, convex, the base cofluent 
with the compoimd stem," Fries. 



POLYPORUS CORYLINUS,* 3fa«n. 

Frontispiece 
{Lower Figure), 

" SfogateUo di Noccia." 

This Polyporus grows upon the old trunk of the cob-nut tree, Corylus 

avellana ; it is excellent for food, so excellent that it seldom finds its way 

into the Roman market, being generally disposed of like other choice 

funguses, in presents. It is to be procured artificially as follows : a block 

is cut off* from the nut tree towards the root, which is then fired over a 

little straw till singed, then watered and put by in a cave or cellar ; in a 

short time the whole stump is covered over with funguses, which are 

reproduced in successive crops, whereof thi^ee is the usual number. This 

* This, which is not a British species, is merely described and figured in the present 
Treatise in explanation of the mode of rearing funguses artificially. The upper figure of the 
Frontispiece (a Coprinua, of which T have not been able to determine the species) was 
less entitled to a place, as it is certainly not esculent ; but having usurped one, I may here 
mention that it grew out of the interstices of some wicker from a basket in which infused 
tea-leaves had been kept. For the spirited delineation of these instances of artificial 
growth forming the subject of the frontispiece, I am indebted to my friend Mr. Cromek, 
of Rome. 



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DESCRIPTION OF SPECIES. 121 

process will not succeed with all stumps, yet strange as it may seem, the 
peasants undertake to discriminate those that are to produce from those 
that are sterile, nor seldom err in their diagnosis. These stumps are sold 
in the Roman market, at from fifteen to sixteen pauls (six or seven 
shilUngs) apiece. 



CLAVARIA CORALLOIDES, Ztv.;.. 

Plate XVI. 
Subgenus Ochrosporea, Fries, 

'^Esculenta deliciosa.'' — Vitt. 

All the ftmguses of this genus being esculent, enter more or less largely 
into the supplies of the Italian markets. Roques describes seven species; 
Persoon five ; Vittadini gives a detailed account and drawings of three, 
selecting these principally for the superiority of their flavour over the 
rest, and because of their greater abundance in the Milanese district. 
Mr. Berkeley, in a list with which he has favoured me, enumerates four 
British species as esculent ; C. corcdloideSj C, grisea, C, cristatay and 
C. ruffosa \ as, however, he has no personal experience of any of these as 
articles of food, I shall merely give the botanical character of the C, coral- 
hides, the most abundant of all the species (for the excellent qualities 
of which I can myself vouch); furnishing the reader with one or two 
dravdngs of the commoner sorts, whether British or Foreign, in further 
illustration of this elegant genus. 

Clavaria coraUoidea, 

BoT. Char. Fileus erect, white, stem rather thick, branches unequal, 
elongated, mostly acute, pure white, sometimes violet at the base. 

R 



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122 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OF ENGLAND. 

Mode of dremng. 

Having thoroughly cleansed away the earth which is apt to adhere to 
them, they are to be sweated with a little butter, over a slow fire, after- 
wards to be strained, then (throwing away the liquor) to be replaced to 
stew for an hour, with salt, pepper, chopped chives and parsley, moist- 
ening with plain stock, and dredging with flour occasionally. When 
sufficiently cooked, to be thickened with yolks of eggs and cream. 

Another mode. * 

Proceed as before, after sweating the Clavarias wrap them in bacon 
and stew in a little broth seasoned with salt, pepper, parsley and ham ; 
cook for an hour, then serve in white sauce, or with a fricassee of 
Chicken. 

N.B. The saucepan should be covered with a sheet of paper under 
the hd, which keeps the Clavarias white and also preserves their flavour. 

There can be little doubt that oiu: woods properly explored, would be 
found to abound in funguses hitherto considered rare, and this would 
probably be one of them. At present the weald of Kent, within forty 
miles of London, remains so far as Mycology is concerned, nearly as 
unexplored as the interior of Africa. 



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DESCRIPTION OF SPECIES. 123 

LYCOPERDON PLUMBEUM, «^i. 

Plate XV. 

Puff-baas, 

Subdivision Gasteromycetes, Fries, 

Tribe 3. Trichospermi. 

Family 1. Trichogastres. Genus 1. Lycoperdon, Tournf, 



" n licoperdo piombino ^ uno dei fungbi mangiativi piu delicati che si conoscano. H suo 
uso e pressochfe generale." — Vitt. 

AxL those more or less spherical white funguses furnished with a mem- 
branaceous covering, and filled when young with a white compact 
homogeneous pulp, which we call Puff-baUs, are good to eat ; those in 
most request for the table abroad, and the best, have no stem, i. e. no 
sterile base, but are prolific throughout their whole substance. One of 
the most common of these is the Lycoperdon plumheum^ of which the 
following excellent description is chiefly taken from Vittadini. 

Bot, Char. Body globose; when full-grown about the size of a walnut, 
invested with two* tunics, the outer one white, loosely membranaceous 
and fragile, sometimes smooth, at others furfuraceous ; the innermost 
one (peridium) very tenacious, smooth, of a grey lead colour externally, 
internally more or less shaggy with very fine hairs (hence its name 
capillitium); these hairs occupy the whole cavity, and in the midst of 
them a prodigious number of minute granular bodies, the sporules, (each 
of which is furnished with a long caudiform process) lie entangled. The 
whole plant, carefully removed from the earth, with its root still adhering, 
is in form not unlike one of its own seeds vastly magnified. 

The Z.plumbeum abounds in dry places, and is to be found in spring, 

* There are in fact three at first, whereof the external one either coalesces with the 
second or else peels off in shreds ; when the other two become united, and continue to 
maintain the globular form of the Puff-ball unimpaired, even after the escape of the seed. 

r2 



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124 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OP ENGLAND. 

summer and autmnn, solitary or in groups. "This/* says Vittadini, 
*' is one of our commonest Puff-balls, and after the warm rains of summer 
and of autumn, myriads of these little plants suddenly springing up, will 
often completely cover a piece of ground as if they had been sown like 
grain for a crop ; if we dig them up we shall find that they are connected 
with long fragile threads, extending horizontally under ground and giving 
attachment to numerous smaller Puff-balls in different stages of deve- 
lopement, which by continuing to grow afford fresh supplies as the old 
ones die off. 



LYCOPERDON BOVISTA, Xe««. 

Subdivision Gastebomycetes, Fries. 
Tribe 3. Tricospermi. Family 1. Trichogastres. 

" Vescie buone da friggfere'^ Tuscan Vernacular uame. 

" La sua came Candida compatta si presta facilement^ a tutte le speculazioni del 
cuoco." — VitL 

This differs from the last mentioned Puff-ball in many particulars ; in 
the first place it is much larger (sometimes attaining to vast dimensions), 
its shape is different, being that of an inverted cone ; never globular, the 
flesh also is more compact, while the membrane which holds what is 
first the pulp and afterwards the seed, is very thin and tender, the seed 
moreover has no caudal appendage ; and finally, a considerable portion of 
the base is sterile, in all which additional particulars it is unlike the Lye, 
plumheum. The plant is sessile, a purple black fragile membrane 
contains the spores, which are also sessile,* and of the same colour as 
the peridium. 

No fungus requires to be eaten so soon after gathering as this; a 
few hours will destroy the compactness of the flesh and change its 

* Without appendages. 



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DESCRIPTION OP SPECIES. 125 

colour from delicate white to dirty yellow,* but when perfectly fresh and 
properly prepared, it yields to no other in digestibility. It may be 
dressed in many ways, but the best method is to cut it into slices and 
fry these in egg and bread crumbs ; so prepared it has the flavour of a 
rich light omelette, f 



AGARICUS MELLEUS, 

Plate XVI. 
Subgenus 3. Amillaeia. 



This is a nauseous disagreeable fungus however cooked, and merely finds 
mention here as its omission in a work on the esculent funguses of 
England might seem strange to those unacquainted with its demerits ; 
it is really extraordinary how some Continental writers, speaking from 
their own experience, should ever have recommended it for the tabic. 
Pliny's general apage against all funguses really finds an application to 
this, which is so repugnant to our notions of the savory, that few would 
make a second attempt, or get dangerously far in a first dish. Not to 
be poisonous is its only recommendation, for as to the inviting epithet 
melleus or honied, by which it is designated, this alludes only to the 
colour, and by no means to the taste, which is both harsh and styptic. 

BoT. Char. In tufts, near, or upon stumps of trees, or posts- P'dem 
dirty yellow, more or less hairy ; stem fibrous, varjdng greatly in kugth 
fi'om one inch to nine or ten ; enlarged above and below, thinner in the 
middle, ring thick, spreading, rough or leathery ; gilh somewhat decur- 

* Vittadini recommends, wherever this fungus grows conveniently for the purpose, 
that it should not be all taken at once but by slices cut off from the living plant, care 
being taken not to break up its attachments with the earth ; in this way, he says^ you 
may have a fine " frittura " every day for a week. 

t I have been informed that this Puff-ball is sometimes served on state occasions at the 
Freemasons Tavern. 



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126 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OF ENGLAND. 

rent, deeper than the pileus ; spores white, appearing Uke fine dust on 
the gills. 

Agaricm caudictnus. 

One of the best funguses of southern Italy, and which it may be worth 
while to notice as not an unlikely visitor in this country, is the Jg. caudi- 
cinus, or far famed Pioppini ; its fine fiill flavour, the great abundance 
in which it is found, and the regularity of its re-appearance every season 
in the same place, have obtained for it a reputation which is not sur- 
passed by that of the Jg. Casareus itself; it yields a most savoury 
ketchup. I have not succeeded in finding it in England ; but then I 
have only had as yet one season to look for it. 

BoT. Chae. Csespitose ; the pileus bom two to four inches across, 
smooth, varying in coloiu: firom cinnamon to nut-brown ; at first hemi- 
spherical, then plano-convex, slightly umbonated at the centre, the flesh 
scanty; theyeZfe numerous, equal, dirty white, broadly adnate; the stem 
slender, scaly, of a pale umber hue, hollow, cylindrical, equal, somewhat 
curved, brittle, furnished with a slender, white ring, generally fugacious. 
Occurring during summer and autumn on a variety of trees, but gene- 
rally on the black poplar and on the var. Neapolitana (Tenore). 



AGARICUS ULMARIUS, 5«//. 

Subgenus Pleueopus. 
Subdivision iEoELiTARiA. 



*' Fungo mangiativo sommanente ricercato e di ottima qualita." — Vitt, 

BoT. Chae. Solitary or connected to others by a common root; the 
pUeus presenting a dirty white surface, turning afterwards to a pale rust 
colour, and sometimes tessellated ; varying like all parasitical funguses in 
shape, but generally more or less orbicular ; flesh continuous with the 



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DESCRIPTION OF SPECIES. 127 

stalk, white, compact ; stalk very thick, solid, elastic, smooth towards the 
summit, tomentose at the base ; ffiUs of a yellowish tint, broad, thick, 
ventricose, emarginate, i. e. terminating upon the surface of the stem in 
a receding angle ; the imperfect gills few ; taste and smeU agreeable ; 
spores white. 

This Agaric which takes its name from the tree where it is most 
commonly found, grows also, though less frequently, on the poplar and 
beech. Mr. Berkeley reports it rare; perhaps, however, as it is 
eminently local, it may here, as in Italy, be common in some places 
though of unfrequent general occurrence. No coimtry being so rich in 
elm trees as our own, we should probably find A. vlmarius more often if 
the height at which it grows among the branches did not frequently 
screen it from observation.* Though registered in the Flora of Tun- 
bridge WeUs, I have not met with a single specimen of it this autumn. 

This Agaric dries well and may be kept (not, however, without losing 
some of its aroma) for a long time virithout spoiling ; the gills after a 
time, assume the same hue as the pileus. 



AGARICUS FUSIPES, 5«//. 

Subgenus Clytocybe. 
Subdivision Chondropodes. 



" H a le m&ne gout que le Champignon de Couche quoique un pen plus prononcd." — Persoon. 

BoT. Chae. Gregarious ; pileus fleshy, loose, of a uniform brown colour, 
sometimes marked with dark blotches, as if bmut; ffills nearly free, 
serrated, at first dirty white, afterwards a clear bistre ; easily separable 
from the stalk ; stalk hollow, ventricose, sulcate, rooting, spmdle-shaped, 

* *\Ce Champignon croit au milieu et vers le sommet de Tarbre de sorte qu'il n'est pas 
facile a voir ou a recolter." — Fersoon, 



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128 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OF ENGLAND. 

slightly grooved, tapering at the base, sometimes cracked transversely, 
varying singularly both in length and breadth. 

This excellent fungus is very abundant throughout summer and 
autumn, coming up in tufts at the roots of old oak trees after rain. It 
may be easily recognised by its peculiar spindle-shaped stalk. 

Vittadini does not mention it ; nor does its name occur in the list of 
esculent funguses in the * Diz. di Med. Class '; notwithstanding which 
the yoimg plants make an excellent pickle ; while the full grown ones 
may be stewed or dressed in any of the usual modes adopted for the 
common mushroom. 



AGARICUS VAGINATUS, ^«^ 

Series 1. Leucosporus. 
Subgenus 1. Amanita. 



" La coucoum^le grise (Jg. vag,) est une des esp^ces les plus delicates et les plus sures 
a manger." — De CandoUe. 

BoT. Char. " Margin of the pileus sulcate, gills white, stem stuflfed 
with cottony pith, fistulose, attenuated upwards, almost smooth, volva 
like a sheath. Woods and pastures, August and October ; not uncom- 
mon. Pileus four inches or more broad, plane, slightly depressed in the 
centre, scarcely umbonate, fleshy, but not at the extreme margin, which 
is elegantly grooved in consequence, viscid when moist, beautifully glossy 
when dry ; epidermis easily detached, more or less studded wtth brown 
scales, the remnants of the volva, not persistent ; ^ilh free, ventricose, 
broadest in front, often imbricated, white ; sporules white, roimd ; stem 
six inches or more high, from half to an inch thick, attenuated upwards, 
obtuse at the base, furnished with a volva, this adnate below to the 
extent of an inch, with the base of the stem, closely surroimding it above 
as in a sheath, but with the margin sometimes expanded ; within and at 
the base marked with the groovings of the pileus, brittle, sericeo-squa- 



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DESCEIPTION OF SPECIES. 129 

mulose, scarcely fibriDose, but splitting with ease longitudinally, hollow, 
or rather stuffed with fine cottony fibres ; the very base solid, not acrid^ 
insipid. Smell scarcely any. It occurs of various colours, the more 
general one is a mouse grey " (Berkeley). 

The perfect accuracy of the above description will strike every one 
famiUar vsrith this species. Vittadini speaks of it as a soUtary fungus, 
but I have found it on more than one occasion in rings. Its flesh being 
very dehcate and tender must not be over-dressed. When properly fried 
in butter or oil, and as soon after gathering as possible, the Aff. vaginatiis 
will be foimd inferior to but few Agarics in its flavour. 



AGARICUS VIOLACEUS, Ze««. 

Subgenus 18. Inoloma. 

BoT. Char. Pileus from four to six inches broad, obtuse, expanded, 
covered with soft hairs, colour deep violet ; ateni spongy, grey, tinged 
with violet, minutely downy, about four inches high ; veil fugacious, 
composed of fine threads ; gills deep violet when young, but turning 
tawny in age ; flesh thick, juicy. 

This is a handsome fungus, not very common, but plentiftd where it 
occurs ; it grows in woods, particularly under pine and fir trees, and 
may be dressed either vsrith a white or a brown sauce. 



AGARICUS CASTANEUS, 5«//. 

Subgenus 19. Dermoctbe. 



BoT. Char. Pileus shghtly fleshy, convex when young, at length umbo- 

s 



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130 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OF ENGLAND. 

nate^ chesnut colour^ from one to three inches broad^ glabrous; ffills 
rather broad^ easily detached from the stem^ ventricose, changing from 
light purple to a ferruginous hue ; stem rather thin, from one and a half 
to three inches long, hollow, silvery, light lilac or white ; veil delicate, 
composed of floccose threads ; in taste when raw it somewhat resembles 
the Jff. Oreade%y but it has no smell. 

This Agaric may be distinguished from others by its chesnut or bistre 
colour; it is probably not uncommon; growing all the summer and 
autumn in woods, and under trees in meadows. Mr. Berkeley reports it 
esculent, I have no experience of it. 



AGARICUS PIPERATUS, >y^(5.. 

Subgenus 7. Galoreheus. 

" Ed e veramente oommestibile e saporoso quando se ne levi il latte." — BendisdolL 

BoT. Char. ''Pileus infundibuliform, rigid, smooth, white; gills very 
narrow, close ; milk, and the solid blunt stem, white. In woods, July and 
August. Pileus 3-7 inches broad, slightly rugulose, quite smooth, white, 
a little clouded with umber, or stained with yellow where scratched or 
bruised, convex more or less depressed, often quite infundibuliform, more 
or less waved, fleshy, thick, firm but brittle ; margin involute at first, 
sometimes excentric, milk white hot. Gilh generally very narrow (iVof 
an inch broad), but sometimes much broader, cream-colour, repeatedly 
dichotomous, very close, ' like the teeth of an ivory comb *, decurrent 
from the shape of the pileus, when bruised changing to umber. Stem 
1-3 inches high, 1^-2 inches thick, often compressed, minutely pruinose, 
solid, but spongy within, the substance breaking up into transverse 
cavities."* 
Though very acrid when raw, it loses its bad qualities entirely by 

* Berk. 



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DESCRIPTION OP SPECIES. 131 

cooking, and is extensively used on the Continent, prepared in various 
ways. It is preserved for winter use by drying or pickling in a mixture 
of salt and vinegar."* 

I have frequently eaten this fungus at Lucca, where it is very abun- 
dant, but as it resembles the Ag, vellerev>8 in appearance, with the proper- 
ties of which we are unacquainted, too much caution cannot be exercised 
in learning to discriminate it from this and neighbouring species. 



AGARICUS VIRGINEUS, Wuiif, 

Subgenus 8. Cutocybe. Subdivision Camarophtlli. 
White field Agaric. 



BoT. Char. Pilem from one to two inches broad, margin involute when 
young, then expanded, depressed in the centre. GiUa deep, connected with 
veins, sometimes forked, broadly adnate, but breaking away from the 
stem, as the pileus becomes depressed. Stem six lines broad at the top, 
tapering downwards, not more than two at the base ; at first stufied with 
fibres, then hollow, excentric ; the whole plant white, with occasionally 
a tinge of pink. Taste pleasant, odour disagreeable. 

These graceful little Agarics grow in pastures and are extremely com- 
mon in the autumn. They are so small that it requires a great many of 
them to make a dish, but as they occur frequently in the same fields with 
Puff-balls, and may be dressed in the same manner, it is not unusual 
when the supply is scarce to serve them together, with the same sauce. 
The flavour of Ag, virgineus is not unlike that of Ag, Oreades. 



* Berk. 

s2 

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132 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OF ENGLAND, 



REFERENCES TO PLATES 17 to 24. 



Fig, 1 to 9. — Colmra of Spores, 

1. Agaricus Oreades. 4. Agaricus lUopodias. 7. Agaricus pusillus. 

2. rufo-carneus. 5. micaoeus. 8. Scleroderma vulgare. 

3. violaceus. 6. rutilus. 9. Agaricus campestris. 

Fig. 10 fo 14. — Some of the more usual shapes of Spores. 
Fig. 15 to 18. — Position of the Sjpores in certain genera. 

15. Surface of the gill of an Agaric magnified to show the spores. 

16. ^. Theca o{ HelveUa esculenta, containing eight spores, b. a spore highly magnified. 

C, theca of HelveUa crUtpa with spores, D, the same aborted. 

17. Spores and thecsB of Ferpa ttpeciosa, from two to three spores in each theca. 
IS. Pedunculated spores of Boletus dcaber issuing from the utricles. 

Fig. 19 fo 22. — Developement of the Subgenus Jmanite. - 
19. Vertical section of the young Amanite. 21 to 22. The Amanite issuing from its wrapper. 

Fig. 23 to 31. — Developement of Spores in other Genera. 

23. Genus Lycoperdon. 26. Genus Cantharellus. 29. Genus Morchella. 

24. Clavaria. 27. Boletus. 30. Bsedalea. 

25. Hydnum. 28. Agaricus. 31. Periza. 

Fig. 32/0 40. — GUIs and their varieties. 

32. Decurrent. 36. Ventricose. 38. Veined. 

33. Free. 36. Narrow. 39. Adnate. 

34. Forked. 37. Remote. 40. Effused. 

Fig. 41 to 54. — Stalks and their varieties. 

41. Piped. 46. Stuffed with Fibres. 49. Csespitose. 

42. Cylindrical. 46. Fibrous. 50. Excentric. 

43. Stuffed. 47. Branched. 51. Booting. 

44. Solid. 48. Fusiform. 62. Bulbous. 

53. Stalk with fibres effused into pileus. 54. Stalk with fibres not effused into pileus. 

55 to 67. — Varieties of Bing. 
55. Ascending Ring. 66. Descending Ring. 67. Veil and Ring. 

Fig. 58 and 69. — Tlie Wrapper. 
58. Wrapper closed. 59. Wrapper open. 



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FUNGUSES IN ITALY. 133 



CONCLUSION. 



Italy is not the country for the English florist ; he will find twenty times 
as many petals at home. Trim parterres are not inventions of the south ; 
Summer houses would be no luxuries in a climate that never knows 
winter ; the only Conservatories that flourish there are not for flowers, 
but for music. In few northern regions is the Goddess of Flowers worse 
off for a bouquet than at Rome or Naples; regarded merely as the 
herald of Spring and not appreciated for her own sake, as soon as she has 
waved her wand over the land and covered it with the March blossoms 
of Crocuses Cyclamens and Anemones, her reign is over. All scents are 
held in equal abhorrence save those of firankincense and garlic, for which 
there seems to be a prescriptive toleration; but every other odour 
fetid or fragrant, musk * or mignionette is equally proscribed, and an 
Italian Signora would as soon permit a Locusta to cook for her, as a violet 
to scent her boudoir. To pick wild flowers is as dangerous as it is difficult 
to find cultivated ones ; a coup de soleil or a fever is easily procured by 
imprudent exposure before sunset, while the interval between that and 
night is too brief to be employed for the purpose ; but when the season 
for fiowers is long passed and Autumn with her fruits is come round 
again, when the stranger can wander forth where he lists without an 
umbrella, he will be able to luxuriate amidst the lonely scenery, and to 
delight himself in the natural history of the district ; the season of the 
periodical rains has ceased ; the repose of the forest is no longer troubled 
by the Power of the waters ; the mountain pines borne for miles down 
into the valleys are stranded on the broad shingly bed of the exhausted 
torrent ; broken bridges are safely repaired ; the maize is receiving the 

* In 1843 tlie Menda of a patient for whom I had occasion to prescribe some musk, 
had recourse to many chemists in succession before the licensed dealer in it could be found, 
and he was obliged by law to keep it in his back premises. 



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134 FUNGUSES IN ITALY. 

last mellowing touches as it festoons the cottage fronts, the prickly 
chesnut pods are beginning to gape and the brown chesnuts to leap out 
shining fix)m their envelopes ; the last reluctant olive has been beaten 
£rom the bough ; the vintage has nearly ceased to bleed, night fires * 
already begin to flicker on the mountains, and the hemp stubble is daily 
crackling on the plain ; this is indeed the time for enjoying Italy ; nature 
has revived again, and with nature, man. The feverish torpor, I had 
almost ventured to call it the summer hybernation, has ceased with 
September, and Autunm has come round with the vivifying influence of 
a new Spring ; then if we go abroad to wander, whether our walk be 
across plains or through upland woods, we shall not stroll a mile without 
stopping a hundred times to admire what is to many of us a nearly 
new class of objects which have sprung up suddenly and now beset 
our path on every side. These are the Fungus tribe, which are as 
beautiful as the fairest flowers, and more useful than most fruits ; and 
now that butchers-meat is bad, that the beans have become stringy, and 
the potatoes are hydrated by the rain, they appear thus opportunely to eke 
out the scantiness of Autmnnal larders in the south and give a fresh zest 
to the daily repast. Well may their sudden apparition surprise us, for 
not ten days since the waters were all out, and only three or four nights 
back peals of thunder rattled against the casements and kept the most 
determined sleepers in awful vigil ; and now. Behold the meadows by 
natural magic studded with countless fairy rings of every diameter, formed 
of such species as grow upon the ground, while the chesnut and the oak 
are teeming with a new class of frniits that had no previous blossoming, 
many of which have already attained their full growth. We recollect with 
gratitude the objects of a pursuit, which has accidentally brought us to 
such an acquaintance with the diversities of Italian scenery, as we 
never should have experienced without it. In fishing it is not the fish 
we catch, which alone repays us for our toil ; it is the wandering as the 

* Night fires ; this is to clear the ground under the Chesnut trees for the falling fruits, 
which might otherwise be lost amidst the heath, but the practice is unsafe ; as many a tree 
has been charred by the flames, and some have actually taken fire and given rise to a 
general conflagration. 



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FUNGUSES IN ITALY. 135 

rivulet wanders, " at its own sweet will," the exercise and the appetite 
consequent upon it, the prize in natural history, the reciting aloud, 
or reflecting as we walk, and when it is pleasantly warm the " moUes 
sub arbore somni," which console us for the lack of sport ; on the same 
principle mushroom-hunting may be recommended to the young naturalist 
not only for the beauty of the objects which he is sure to come upon 
(if he do but hunt at the right season;, but also because in that most 
beautiful of months, whether at home or abroad, it brings the wanderer 
out of beaten paths to fall in with many striking views which he would 
not otherwise have explored. The extremely Umited time during which 
funguses are to be found, their fragility, their infinite diversity, their 
ephemeral existence, these, too, add to the interest of an Autumnal walk 
in quest of them. At Lucca, leaving idleness and indigestion in bed, just 
as the sun was beginning to shoot his first rays on the white convents, 
and the spires of the village churches on the mountains, making morning 
above, while the deep valley beneath was still in twilight, it was pleasant 
to pass the little opening coffee-house with its two or three candidates 
for early breakfast, and crossing the noiseless trout stream over the Uttle 
bridge, to enter one of those old chesnut forests and begin clambering 
up the laddery pathway, to reach the summit just as he poured his full 
effulgence on the magnificent rival views of the Lucchese and Mo- 
denese territories ; pleasant too was it on the road Rome-ward, pausing 
a few days to enjoy the exquisite scenery about Spoleto, to climb the 
steep streets to the Cathedral and thence passing the giddy viaduct several 
hundred feet above the white ravine, which it traverses, to issue upon 
those Nurcian Hills then fragrant with the breath of morning, " le beau 
matin qui sort humide et pale," and with the scent of sweet herbs ; but 
above all other hills renovnied for the fragrance of those ever reproductive 
mines of coal-black, subterranean truffles ! it is a pleasant remembrance 
to have plucked the crimson Amanite that ministered to a Caesar's 
decease in the very neighbourhood of the Palatine Hill, to have collected 
mushrooms amidst the meadows of Horace's farm, where he tells us they 
grew best, and to have watched along the moist pastures of the Cremara 



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136 ESCULENT FUNGUSES OF ENGLAND. 

a stand of the stately Ag.procerm nodding upon their stalks, or standing 
on the heights above Sorrento, just as the setting sun flashed upon the 
waters of the bay 'ere they engulphed him, and left us to his sister and 
the evening star, to have come upon that wonderful Polyporus tuberaster 
whose matrix is the hard stone, from which it derives strength and 
luxuriance as if from a soft and genial soil. 

But not only in Italy, in our own country also, the Collector in Myco- 
logy will have to traverse much beautiful and diversified scenery ; amid 
woods, greenswards, winding lanes, rich meadows, healthy commons, 
open downs, the nodding hop-grove and the mountain sheep-path; and all 
shone upon by an Autumnal sunset, as compared with southern climes 
" obscurely bright, " and unpreceded by that beautiful rosy tint which 
bathes the whole landscape in Italy, but with a far finer back ground 
of clouds to reflect its departed glories ; and throughout all this range of 
scenery he will never hunt in vain ; indulgent gamekeepers made aware 
of what he is poaching may warn him that he is not collecting mush- 
rooms, but will never warn him off from the best kept preserves. In such 
rambles he wiU see, what I have this Autumn myself witnessed, whole 
hundred-weights of rich wholesome diet rotting under trees \ woods teeming 
with fbod and not one hand to gather it; and this perhaps in the midst 
of potato blight, poverty and all manner of privations, and public prayers 
against imminent famine. I have indeed grieved when I reflected on 
the straitened condition of the lower orders this year, to see pounds 
innumerable of extempore beef-steaks growing on our oaks in the shape 
of Fistulina hepatica; Jg. fusipes to pickle, in clusters under them; 
Puff 'balk which some of our friends have not inaptly compared to sweet- 
bread for the rich deUcacy of their unassisted flavour, Hydna as good 
as oysters which they somewhat resemble in taste, Agaricus deliciosus re- 
minding us of tender lamb-kidneys ; the beautiful yellow Chantarelle that 
kalon hagothon of diet growing by the bushel, and no basket but our own 
to pick up a few specimens in our way; the sweet nutty-flavoured Boletus^ 
in vain calling himself edulis where there was none to believe him, the 
dainty Orcella^ the Ag. heterophyUus which tastes like the craw-fish 



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CONCLUSION. 137 

when grilled, the Ag. ruber and Ag. virescena to cook in any way, and 
equaDy good in aD ; — these were among the most conspicuous of the 
trouvailles ; but that the reader may know all he is likely to find in one 
single autumn let him glance at the catalogue below.* He may at first 
alarm his firiends* cooks, but their fears will, I promise him, soon be 
appeased, after one or two trials of this new class of viands, and he will 
not long pass either for a conjuror, or something worse^ in giving 
directions to stew toadstools ; as soon as he is initiated in this class of 
dainties he will, I am persuaded, lose no time in making the discovery 
known to the poor of the neighbourhood ; while in so doing he will 
render an important service to the country at large, by instructing the 
indigent and ignorant in the choice of an ample, wholesome, and excel- 
lent article, which they may convert into money, or consume at their own 
tables, when properly prepared, throughout the winter. 

* The whole of the species mentioned in the annexed list were met with by the author 
this Summer and Autumn, and partaken of by himself and Mends ; viz., AmanUa vaguuUa; 
Ag, rudeicens, procerus, jfrunulua, ruber, heterophyUus, virescens, deUciosus, nebularis, perso- 
natuBy virgineus, fusipes, Oreades, ostreatus, orcella, campestris (and its varieties eduUB and 
praiensis), exqtdntus, comatus, and ulmarius; CanthareUuB cibarius; Fol^^porus frondosus ; 
Boletus edulis and scaber; FUiulina hepatica; Hydnum repandum; HeheUa lacunosa ; 
Peziza acetabulum and Bomsta plumbea ; Lycoperdon yemmatum and Clavaria strtgosa. 



N.B. Note on the arrangement of the spores in Hymenomycetous Funguses* 

On the authority of Link, Fries, Vittadini, and other continental mycologists, I have in 
speaking of the spores, of the genera Agaricus, Boletus, CanthareUus, Hydnum, and 
Clavaria, represented them as enclosed in cases (thecse or sporanges). But from an in- 
teresting memoir, published by Mr. Berkeley, in the * Annals of Nat. Hist.' " On the 
fructification of the Pileate and Clavate tribes of Hymenomycetous Fungi," which I had 
not then perused, it would appear that this arrangement only holds good with respect to 
Pezizas, HeheUas, and Morels, and not with respect to the above-mentioned genera, the 
spores of which are attached (generally in a quaternary and star form) to the ends of tubes, 
to which Mr. Berkeley has given the name of sporqphores ; a disposition which, as he 
observes, had been long ago pointed out by the great Florentine mycologist, Micheli. M. 
Montague, in his * Recherches Anatomiques et Physiol(^ques sur THymenium,' while he 
confirms the fact of a quaternary disposition of the spores in general, thinks, that during 
the first stage of their development they are lodged unthin the sporiferous tubes, to the 
mouths of which they afterwards adhere, by means of short spiculee or branchlets. 



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138 CONCLUSION. 

These, like all other questions connected with the minute reproductive granules of Fun- 
guses, require for their solution, not only the most dexterous manipulation, and the aid of 
the finest modem microscopes, but are likely even then, to exercise the ingenuity of 
the curious. 



TH£ END. 



Printed by Reeve, Brothers, King WiUiMn Stieet, Strand. 



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